Bruce Karsh

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Bruce A. Karsh
Born (1955-10-10) October 10, 1955 (age 63)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materDuke University (B.A.)
University of Virginia (J.D.)
OccupationCo-Chairman and CIO, Oaktree Capital Management
Executive Board Member and Minority Owner of the Golden State Warriors
Net worthIncrease US$ 1.98 billion (August 2016)[1]

Bruce Karsh (born October 10, 1955) is an American investor and former lawyer. In the early 1980s he was an appellate clerk to former Supreme Court of the United States justice Anthony M. Kennedy, and later worked at O'Melveny & Myers, Sun Life Insurance Company (formerly Kaufman & Broad), and the TCW Group. He co-founded Oaktree Capital Management in 1995, later becoming the firm's Co-Chairman and CIO.[2] As of August 2016 according to Forbes magazine, he has a net worth of $1.98 billion.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Bruce A. Karsh was born in 1955 to a Jewish family,[4] the son of David H. Karsh, and Roberta “Bobby” Karsh.[5][6][7] In 1974, he graduated from Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis.[8] In 1977, Karsh earned an A.B. degree in economics from Duke University[9] where he graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.[10] In 1980[11] he earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he received the academic award Order of the Coif.[9] While at the University of Virginia he served as notes editor for the Virginia Law Review.[12]


Early years (1980-1995)[edit]

Following law school Karsh served as an appellate clerk to former Supreme Court of the United States justice Anthony M. Kennedy. He went on to work as an attorney with the law firm O'Melveny & Myers,[10] then served as an assistant to billionaire Eli Broad,[13] who was then the chairman of Sun Life Insurance Company and SunAmerica.[12]

In 1987, Broad's insurance company became a client of TCW Group.[13] Shortly thereafter, Karsh was hired by Howard Marks to manage distressed debt at TCW. TCW's first distressed debt fund was started in 1988. Karsh served as Managing Director of TCW and managed the Special Credits Funds there.[12]

Oaktree (1995-present)[edit]

In April 1995, Karsh, Howard Marks, and three other employees at TCW left their firm to found Oaktree Capital Management. Karsh became a portfolio manager for Oaktree's Distressed Opportunities and Value Opportunities strategies and Chief Investment Officer for the firm.[10]

According to Ken Moelis, the CEO of Moelis & Co., Howard Marks is the public face of Oaktree while Karsh is the "'quiet secret' behind the scenes." Moelis has said that “If you say the name Bruce, people know you’re talking about Bruce Springsteen. There’s one Bruce in music and one Bruce in distressed. He’s just a solid guy who does his homework and thinks through timing.”[13]


Karsh (along with Howard Marks) received the Money Manager of the Year award at Institutional Investor’s US Investment Management Awards in 2015.[14] Along with his wife, Karsh received KIPP’s Giving Tree Award in 2015.[15] .[15] He was awarded the Duke University Medal in 2016.[16]

Philanthropic efforts[edit]

In 1998 Karsh and his wife started the charitable organization the Karsh Family Foundation, which has donated or committed over $200 million for education and scholarships across all levels.[17] Among their recipients have been Teach for America and KIPP.[18] Karsh is the co-founder of The Painted Turtle, a non-profit organization that operates a camp for children with life-threatening diseases in Los Angeles.[9][19] The Foundation also helped fund a renovation project to create the Karsh Student Services Center at the University of Virginia Law School.[11]

The Karshes have given over $100 million to Duke University, almost all of which went to undergraduate financial aid. This included $12 million in 2005, $20 million in 2008,[20] and $50 million in 2011 ($30 million for U.S. students and $20 million for international students).[21][22] In 2016, The Office of Undergraduate Financial Support was named after the Karsh Family. The Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center is expected to be completed in 2019.[23]

Karsh joined the Board of Directors for Duke University’s investment management company (DUMAC)[10][22] in 2002, and in July 2005 was appointed Chairman. He served on the Duke University Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2015 and is now Trustee Emeritus.[9][24]

Karsh and his family funded The Karsh Family Social Service Center at Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles, where they are members. The Karsh Center includes a food pantry and free or low-cost dental and eye care, legal aid, and mental health services for low-income clients.[25]

In 2018, Mr. and Mrs. Karsh donated $43.9 million to the University of Virginia School of Law. This gift is the largest in school history and makes the couple the first people to donate $50 million dollars to the school. The money will be focused on student scholarships and the founding of the Karsh Center for Law and Democracy.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Karsh is married to Martha Karsh, an attorney and co-founder of Clark & Karsh, an architecture firm.[18] They live in Beverly Hills, California and have three children, a daughter-in-law, and a grandson.[9][27]


  1. ^ "The World's Billionaires". Forbes. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  2. ^ SEC 10-k
  3. ^ Forbes Billionaires
  4. ^ Wilshire Boulevard Temple: "Exclusive Los Angeles Premiere of “Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story” November 17, 2010
  5. ^ "#843 Bruce Karsh". Forbes. 5 March 2008.
  6. ^ The St. Louis Jewish Light: David H. Karsh August 15, 2012
  7. ^ Jewish In St. Louis: "Gala to Pay Tribute to Rock Legends…and RJA Legends" May 17, 2009
  8. ^ "Distinguished Alumni". LaDue Schools. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Duke Trustees: Bruce Karsh". Duke University. July 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  10. ^ a b c d "Bruce Karsh Profile". Oaktree Capital. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  11. ^ a b "Law School Renovations Aim to Improve Student, Visitor Experience". Virginia Law. March 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  12. ^ a b c "Bruce Karsh: Profile". Business Week. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  13. ^ a b c Wee, Gillian (June 17, 2011). "Biggest Distressed Debt Investor Marks Europe With 19% Returns". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  14. ^ Segal, Julie (May 2015). "Top Guns" (PDF). Institutional Investor Magazine. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Getting Ready for the New School Year". KIPP: LA Schools. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  16. ^ "A Day of Autographs: Duke Awards University Medals at Founders' Day". Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  17. ^ "Board of Directors". Common Sense. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Martha L. Karsh, Trustee, Karsh Family Foundation; Founder, Clark & Karsh, Inc". Commonsense Media. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  19. ^ Inside Philanthropy Retrieved 8 September 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Burness, John (January 30, 2008). "Bruce and Martha Karsh to Give $20 Million to Support International Students". Duke News. Duke University. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  21. ^ "Bruce Karsh". Forbes. March 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  22. ^ a b "Bruce and Martha Karsh Give $50 Million". Duke University. December 5, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  23. ^ "Duke Begins Construction of Alumni and Visitors Center". Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  24. ^ "Company Overview of Oaktree Capital Group, LLC". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  25. ^ "Donor Profiles". Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Martha and Bruce Karsh Donate $43.9M to UVA School of Law".
  27. ^ "The Karsh Center". Karsh Center. Retrieved 2018-09-06.

External links[edit]