The Sohn Investment Conference in Tel Aviv aims to help children with rare diseases

Hedge fund managers are not generally regarded for their charitable qualities. In reality, these professionals have been giving millions to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

By EDDIE SHAPIRO
October 25, 2016 21:04
3 minute read.
Eddie Shapiro

Eddie Shapiro. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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It is the season for new beginnings – both with the New Year and the rewinding of the Torah. These holidays entreat us to evaluate our lives and look ahead to the future, as well as remind us of the core Jewish values that guide us. One of the most important of these values is tzedaka, or charity.

Following these holy days, men and women from around the world are coming together in Tel Aviv to give back to their community in a big way, by attending an event on October 26 dedicated to fundraising for charities working toward a cure for Rett Syndrome and pediatric cancer.

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The attendees of this conference may surprise you – they aren’t patients, advocates or doctors.

Instead, they are leaders of the hedge fund industry in Israel, New York and London who are harnessing the power of this influential community to give tzedaka to children in need.

The Sohn Investment Conference is an original and premier investment event which gathers the finance community in cities around the world to raise critical funds for children’s causes.

Founded over 20 years ago following the tragic passing of Ira Sohn, a Wall Street professional who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 29, the conferences have gone on to raise more than $70 million for the Sohn Conference Foundation and other children’s charities.

What was originally conceived as a tribute to a beloved friend, son, brother and colleague has since evolved into one of Wall Street’s most sought-after and well-attended events, with conferences taking place annually in Hong Kong, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Tel Aviv and Toronto.

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The conferences are modeled on a simple idea: invite the brightest financial minds to present their best investment ideas. Attendees can benefit from being the first to hear these fresh market insights, all while raising money for a crucial cause. All proceeds from the flagship New York Conference support cutting-edge medical research, state-of-the-art research equipment and innovative programs to ensure that children with cancer survive and thrive.

Sohn Tel Aviv – which raised NIS 700,000 at its inaugural event last year – is primarily focused on fundraising for Rett Syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder that primarily affects young girls.

This cause became the centerpiece of Sohn Tel Aviv because of my good friend Shmulik Zysman’s 18-year-old daughter, who struggles with this heartbreaking disease. In homage to the flagship mission, Sohn Tel Aviv also dedicates funding to pediatric cancer cases.

After attending Sohn’s flagship conference in New York in May 2015, I – along with Roger Gladstone and Daniel Schwartz – was determined to bring this effective model to Tel Aviv. As the first conference of its kind in Israel, we’ve worked diligently to get this project off the ground and build it into a world-class investment conference worthy of the sterling reputation earned by our peers in other cities.

The Sohn conferences shed light on a side of the hedge fund community that often goes unnoticed.

Hedge fund managers are not generally regarded for their charitable qualities. In reality, these professionals have been giving millions to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, ranging from fighting poverty to natural disaster aid to pediatric cancer. Regardless of socioeconomic status, human suffering touches us all, and hedge fund professionals have used their wealth to create lasting change in communities around the world.

The conference benefits all involved – attendees can take advantage of fresh insights from industry leaders and local charities receive desperately-needed funding to further their important efforts. This year’s conference takes place today, October 26, at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

By tapping into our value of tzedaka and bringing together the deeply connected hedge fund communities in New York, London and Israel, Sohn Tel Aviv has amplified the impact of the finance industry in helping others – and this is only our second year. Thanks to the support from financial professionals around the world, we are able to give children like Shmulik’s daughter hope for a cure for Rett Syndrome and help improve the lives of children with cancer, with a donation in excess of a million shekels.

The writer is co-chairman of the Sohn Tel Aviv Investment Conference and is the founder of Pioneer Wealth Management.

All proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships of the Sohn Investment Conference are donated to the Rett Syndrome Foundation, Kids Kicking Cancer Israel and the Rare Diseases Institute at Sheba Medical Center. The conference is supported by the generous donations of platinum sponsors Bank Hapoalim, Citi and Jefferies LLC and diamond sponsors Azrieli Group and GAM.

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