Markets

Cramer: Viral video of hedge fund billionaire bragging about wealth could be a Warren campaign ad

Key Points
  • The video of BlueCrest Capital's Michael Platt, recorded in a taxicab, might as well be a Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaign ad, CNBC's Jim Cramer says.
  • "Warren is sitting there trying to find the 10 people who might rival him," says the "Mad Money" host.
  • Platt says the video, in which he claims to be the "highest-earning person in the world of finance," was meant to be a joke.
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Cramer: Viral video of a billionaire bragging about wealth in taxi could be a Warren campaign ad

A video making the rounds on Wall Street of a hedge fund billionaire bragging about his wealth in the backseat of a New York City taxicab might as well be a Sen. Elizabeth Warren presidential campaign ad, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Thursday.

"This was paid for by Elizabeth Warren," Cramer said, jokingly, after watching the video of BlueCrest Capital Management co-founder Michael Platt on "Squawk on the Street."

"That guy ... clearly has a humility problem," Cramer added, saying the 51-year-old Platt is an ideal caricature for Warren — who has made criticizing billionaires central to her 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, as part of a larger argument about wealth inequality.

"That's the kind of thing — Elizabeth Warren is sitting there trying to find the 10 people who might rival him," Cramer said.

The "Mad Money" host's remarks stand in contrast to his views on Warren's focus on billionaire investor Leon Cooperman, who was the target of a Warren campaign ad, along with former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and others. The ad took aim at billionaires who have criticized the Democratic Massachusetts senator's policies, such as her wealth tax proposal.

Cooperman, whose net worth is estimated at more than $3 billion, is the "wrong whipping boy," Cramer said last month, pointing to the Omega Advisors founder's charitable giving. Cooperman has signed the The Giving Pledge, created by Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, to give away most of his wealth to charity.

'Highest-earning person in the world of finance'

In the Platt video, posted in October to the Instagram account of cabbie Manny Anzalota, the billionaire claims he's the "highest-earning person in the world of finance" and turned BlueCrest into a "personal investment vehicle because we made such high returns."

Platt returned outside money and transitioned BlueCrest into a family office in 2015 after "a push into equities and poor results led to investor exits," Forbes reports. However, the U.K. investment firm has found success since then, generating net returns around 50% in 2016 and 54% in 2017, Bloomberg reported. In 2018, it returned around 25%, Forbes estimates.

The BlueCrest boss has an estimated net worth of $8 billion, according to Forbes — and in 2019, he was the second-highest earning hedge fund manager; he topped the list two years ago. He previously worked at J.P. Morgan for about a decade.

"That man had hubris," Cramer said of Platt, who claims the video, which began circulating widely this month, was not meant to be serious.

In an email earlier this week to the New York Post, Platt wrote, "The video was a total spoof! Just a bit of fun with a lovely guy who Tom Hanks christened Mr Ferrari! I literally just made it all up on the spot!"

The Post said that "Mr. Ferrari," aka Anzalota, is known for posting photos and interviews with famous people like Sean Lennon and Ralph Fiennes. Anzalota told the publication, "[Platt] gave me the biggest tip of my life."

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Jim Cramer: Leon Cooperman is the wrong whipping boy for Elizabeth Warren