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Passport King's Quant Trading Fortune

July 20, 2023
minute read

Chris Kalin, known as the "Passport King" for his role in turning the niche business of offering citizenship to wealthy foreigners into a multibillion-dollar industry, has quietly amassed a sizable fortune through his involvement in quantitative trading. As the co-founder of Arnova Capital, an investment firm specializing in systematic trading strategies, Kalin has achieved remarkable success, with the firm's returns reaching about 2,000% since its inception in the early 2000s, as reported by Trade Algo.

Based in Zug, Switzerland, Arnova Capital maintains a relatively low-profile, but it has made strategic bets on energy prices during the pandemic and participated in the trading frenzy surrounding GameStop Corp., contributing to its current assets under management surpassing $250 million.

Amidst recent market volatility and a growing trend of investors seeking external money managers, Kalin, who holds at least $100 million in Arnova, is now focusing on directly managing his own wealth. He believes that preserving and growing wealth involves seeking opportunities continuously.

Kalin's association with Henley & Partners, a citizenship-by-investment advisory firm, began in the late 1990s when it was a relatively unknown wealth management and immigration consultancy. Over the years, he has played a pivotal role in helping numerous governments raise around $12 billion through citizenship or residency programs while advising thousands of multimillionaires on acquiring convenient passports.

Arnova's trajectory reflects a broader trend among wealthy individuals seeking greater control over their investments, challenging the traditional role of private banks and investment firms catering to the ultra-wealthy. Arnova has taken steps to open up its services, offering fund-like products to external investors interested in its proprietary strategies, including contrarian bets beyond its usual systematic trading approach.

Kalin co-founded Arnova in 2003 alongside Pendo Lofgren, the firm's Chief Investment Officer. Their trading style involves capitalizing on market optimism or pessimism and venturing into non-systematic strategies when opportunities arise. Among their notable trades were investments in fossil fuel companies during negative oil price periods and shorting GameStop during the 2021 Reddit-fueled surge.

Despite their success, the pair remains focused on investing and prefers outsourcing administrative tasks to banks and brokerages to streamline their operations. Kalin's wealth in Arnova represents a significant portion of his liquid assets, alongside his involvement in other ventures, such as Swiss health-advisory firm SIP Medical Family Office and a global real estate portfolio.

With an eye on potential opportunities in shipping-tanker companies listed on smaller stock exchanges and oil producers in Latin American countries with left-wing political leadership, Kalin and Lofgren are poised to navigate the ever-changing investment landscape while remaining committed to their investment philosophy.

John Liu
Eric Ng
John Liu
Editorial Board
Bryan Curtis
Adan Harris
Managing Editor
Cathy Hills
Associate Editor

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