The fourth annual Finance Cup was held last week in Paris, timed perfectly with Roland Garros’ final weekend. While Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep were busy making history inside Philippe Chatrier stadium, Team USA put forth a resounding 9-4 win over Team Europe at the nearby Lagardere Racing Club.
Each year, players from the financial sectors of the U.S. and Europe face off against each other. It’s one of the biggest opportunities for young aspiring financiers to network with well-known names like hedge fund titans Christer Gardell, Bill Ackman and Robert Pohly.
The first Finance Cup took place in 2015 in New York, and has since been hosted in London during Wimbledon in 2016 and in Miami during the Miami Open in 2017. Finance Cup founder Jeffrey Appel captained the winning U.S. team on Saturday in Paris (Team USA now holds a 3-1 record against Europe).
“The Finance Cup creates a great opportunity for the guys to see old friends, get great competition and make new business relationships,” Appel says.
Justin Gimelstob with Team USA captain Jeffrey Appel and Team Europe captain David Anving (right).
Team USA’s lineup included former world No. 1 doubles players Alex O’Brien (now the Bank of Commerce president) and Richey Reneberg (now a partner at Taconic Capital Advisors). The 28-player roster filled out with former pro players including Kevin Kim, Connor Patrick Smith, Mac Styslinger, Albert Chang, Graydon Oliver, Byron Talbot, Jonathan Canter, Mark Kaplan, Mark Leschly Eoin Collins, Robert Givone, Alberto Francis and Steve Meister.
The participants all work full-time in the financial world, representing companies such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Pershing Square Capital, Wells Fargo, Samlyn Capital and Merrill Lynch, to name a few.
From left to right: Agnes Bradbury, Jeffrey Appel, Walter Dolhare, Bill Ackman, Neri Oxman, Jan Olssen, Christer Gardell and Tobias Hildebrand at a party hosted by Gardell at L’Arc in Paris.
Appel, who founded the event with Team Europe captain David Anving, is proud of his team. “We played very well on the European red clay despite losing our top two players in the men’s 35s division, co-captain Amer Delic and Michael Yani,” he says.
The majority of the players attended the men’s final on Sunday, witnessing Nadal win his 11th Roland Garros crown.
Tennis still plays a big role in their lives, even though many have long since traded their T-shirts and shorts for power suits and ties. Young players transitioning out of careers in tennis and hoping to break into the finance world can use their forehands to get connected with some of the most-established names in the business world.
“For me, I mostly enjoy giving back to the game that’s been so good to me for so many years,” Appel says. “In particular, I enjoy mentoring and helping young people transition from professional and top college tennis into the world of finance as I understand the challenges of both sides.”