Virtuoso investor Gerald Tsai Jr. dies

July 11, 2008 at 8:00 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, July 11 (UPI) -- Gerald Tsai Jr., a legendary investor and the first Chinese-American to lead a Dow Jones industrials company, died in New York City Wednesday, his son said.

He was 79.

Christopher Tsai said the cause of death was multiple organ failure, The New York Times reported.

Tsai was born in Shanghai in 1929 and moved to the United States 18 years later. He attended Boston University, earning bachelor's and master's degrees in economics.

His success in the marketplace came quickly. Known as a virtuoso in building mutual funds, Tsai became an executive vice president of Fidelity Management and Research Co. in 1963.

In 1965, he started the Manhattan Fund, a mutual fund that quickly raised $247 million, at the time a record in investment company history, the Times reported.

By 1968, he sold his shares to CNA Financial Corp., for a personal gain of $30 million.

In the 1980s, Tsai invested in the American Can Co., which bought Associated Madison Cos. in 1982. As the company shifted toward financial services, the name was changed to Primerica, which was an early component of Citigroup.

Tsai was named Primerica's chief executive officer in 1987.

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