>MATTHEW LI entered a PhD program in statistics (math) but discovered his heart lay in finance. Working at Merrill Lynch, he made the leap from analyst to trader. He carefully packaged a master plan — buying warrants, shorting stocks, and purchasing bonds — to profit from Viacom's 1994 bid to merge with Paramount Communications, part of a three-way transaction with Blockbuster.
Credit Suisse Boston, which competed against Li in the deal, hired him afterward. After a year, he left to run a proprietary convertible trading desk at Toronto Dominion in 1996. He assembled a team of traders and analysts that generated almost $1 billion in trading profits (revenue). In 2003, the group left with Li when he founded Fore Research and Management.
Fore has carefully managed investments in convertible bonds, leveraged loans and high yield securities. Fore's multistrategy funds have achieved over 15% annualized returns for five years through July 2009, besting the vast majority of peers. In 2008, Fore reported fourth-quarter holdings of $3.4 billion.