Charles de Vaulx, chairman and chief investment officer of International Value Advisers (IVA), died on Monday in an apparent suicide, according to a spokesman from the New York Police Department. The 59-year-old iconoclastic value manager who co-founded IVA Funds is said to have been under depression and took his own life by jumping from a Midtown Manhattan office tower.
De Vaulx's death comes less than two months after his firm abruptly announced that it would liquidate its funds and halt business. It said that it had completed the liquidation on April 19. The firm had $863 million in total net assets at the end of 2020.
De Vaulx reportedly entered IVA offices at 717 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan shortly before 1 pm on Monday, the NYPD's public information office said in an email. Responders pronounced him dead at the scene at 1:05 pm The police said detectives are still investigating de Vaulx's passing, but do not suspect any criminal activity.
"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our chairman and CIO, Charles de Vaulx," a message posted on IVA's website said. "The entire IVA community convey their deepest sympathy to his family at this difficult time."
De Vaulx's death has left his friends and the Wall Street shocked and shaken. He was reportedly "very depressed" after IVA wound down its operations in March, said Jean-Marie Eveillard, a legendary value investor who had been De Vaulx's mentor. "We are saddened to learn of the passing of our former colleague Charles de Vaulx," said a statement on First Eagle's website, where he had worked as a portfolio manager.
Charles "Chuck" de Lardemelle, another highly respected money man, who until last year had been de Vaulx's partner at IVA, was likewise "flabbergasted" by the news, Eveillard told the New York Post.
An Illustrious Career
De Vaulx's death certainly will create a void in the industry that he knew so well. While IVA had managed $20 billion in assets at its height, it got slashed to about $2.3 billion in recent months as skittish investors demanded their cash.
When de Vaulx liquidated the downsized fund in March, it surprised many investors as it still remained a giant by most standards and was generating modest but positive returns. He even had a serious offer from a buyer interested in purchasing the fund but declined it, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
De Vaulx co-founded IVA Funds after working for many years with Eveillard, who he considered his mentor. Prior to joining IVL in 2008, De Vaulx was an analyst and portfolio manager at First Eagle Investments, contributing to the firm's global value team. He met Eveillard there that translated in an association of a lifetime.
Known as a value manager who favored undervalued and unloved stocks, de Vaulx was named Morningstar's 'International Stock Manager of the Year' in 2001 along with Eveillard. He was also a runner-up for the same prize in 2006.
Many of De Vaulx's near and dear ones believe that his biggest flaw may have been that he took investing too seriously. While insiders say he had long aspired to achieve Eveillard's iconic status as an investor, Eveillard time and again has said that he himself had suffered setbacks in his career, including in 2000 when his First Eagle fund tumbled to $2 billion in assets from $6 billion.