East Hampton, known for its summer weekend homes for the rich and most powerful in the finance world, played host to the fifth annual Finance Cup this past weekend as Team USA and Team Europe battled it out in what has become a yearly tradition.
For the last five years, former professional and top college players who currently work in the finance sector in the United States and Europe compete against one another in this team competition, which provides an opportunity for young, aspiring financiers to network with some of the titans of the industry including Christer Gardell, Bill Ackman, Robert Pohly, John Doran and Walter Dolhare.
For the fourth time in five years, Team USA captured the title as it beat the European team 10-4.
“This year Carl Icahn was courtside for the matches and had the audience in stitches with his speech and trophy presentation,” said Jeffrey Appel, captain for Team USA. “Carl has played tennis his whole life and he and his wife, Gail, still play weekly and are omnipresent at the U.S. Open. Carl had a special interest in watching his ‘Golden Boy’ Christer Gardell play. Carl seeded Christer when he started Cevian Capital in 1996, and retains an ownership stake in the management company. Icahn told me last year his significant investment seeding Christer may have been his best investment ever as Gardell is now considered Europe’s biggest and most feared activist investor.”
The heat and humidity of the New York summer played a factor throughout the weekend, and unfortunately for Ackman, it got the best of him as he had to retire from his doubles match down 1-6, 2-2.
Appel and Howard Sands defeated Gardell and Jan Olssen 6-3, 6-3 in one of the weekend’s matches.
“Both teams are already looking forward to 2020 in Barcelona where the Europeans are hoping for the home surface advantage on the Red Clay,” added Appel. “While the tennis is important the camaraderie and relationships are very important as well.”
Team USA’s lineup included former professional Mario Ancic, now at One Equity Partners, who was once the seventh-ranked player in the world, and former world No. 1 doubles player Richey Reneberg, now a partner at Taconic Capital Advisors. The 28-player roster also included an array of former ATP players ranked inside the top 150: Michael Yani, Kevin Kim, Graydon Oliver, Albert Chang, Mark Kaplan, Jonathan Canter and Byron Talbot.
The participants all work full-time in the financial world, representing such companies as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, State Street Corp, Pershing Square, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Samlyn Capital, Citigroup, BNP Paribas, Soros Management, European Central Bank, SocGen, Deutsche Bank and Cevian Capital.
Byron Talbot was recognized as the MVP as he won his match alongside Eddie Barretto in the 55+ division, and then filled in for an injured Robert Givone and played with Walter Dolhare in the 45+ division to win his second match of the day.
Richey Reneberg won the sportsmanship award once again, and was referred to as the class act of tennis from the group of players; Mario Ancic received the career achievement award for raising the level of play and his accomplishments off of the court.
Back in 2002, Ancic made his Grand Slam debut as a teenager and defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon. Two years later in 2004, he reached the Wimbledon semifinals. Unfortunately, injuries cut his career short and forced him to retire early, but he made the wise decision to go back to school and get his college degree. After moving to New York City and earning a degree from Columbia Law School, he joined Credit Suisse as an investment banker for a few years before becoming an Associate at private equity firm One Equity Partners.
Appel, who founded the event with Team Europe Captain David Anving, continues to be impressed with the progression of the event.
“We are all trying to build an event that endures many years,” he said. “Having Carl Icahn as the Master of Ceremony at Bill Ackman’s house for the event party and awards ceremony was a special experience. Every single one of us looks up to Carl, and it was a great way to wrap up a great weekend.”
Below are the full results from the weekend's matches:
Smith/Nunez (United States) d. Pain/Whiteford (Europe) 7-6(7), 6-2
Pinsky/Powers (United States) d. King/Colautti (Europe) 6-2, 6-0
Walter/Doran (Europe) d. Yani/Francis (United States) 4-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(6)
Ancic/Gruendler (United States) d. Hildebrand/Smole (Europe) 6-4, 6-0
Kim/Oliver (United States) d. Smole/Ketola (Europe) 6-4, 6-4
Brezac/Schaeffer (Europe) d. Kleigerman/Majmudar (United States) 7-6(6), 7-6(3)
Renenberg/Chang (United States) d. Davids/Noteboom (Europe) 7-5, 6-3
Chess/Kaplan (United States) d. Visconti/Doyle (Europe) 6-4, 6-1
Persson/Meringoff (United States) d. Tintore/Persson (Europe) 6-4, 6-4
Schmuecking/Stockoff (Europe) d. Leschley/Pohly (United States) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
Vrbsky/Caturano (Europe) d. Canter/Ackman (United States) 6-1, 2-2 (ret)
Dolhare/Talbot (United States) vs. Nuttall/Irani (Europe) 6-4, 6-2
Talbot/Barretto (United States) d. Alger/Fenichell (Europe) 6-3, 6-3
Appel/Sands (United States) d. Gardell/Ollson (Europe) 6-3, 6-3
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org