Two decades after its foundation, Fortress Investment Group now ranks among the leading investment management firms worldwide. It was started by its three founders; Rob Kauffman (who retired in 2012), Wes Edens and Randal Nardone (who are still principals of the firm). When starting the firm, the intention of the three founders was to establish a unique type of investment firm that would finance the cutting-edge capital vehicles through debt and private equity. This drove them to start Fortress as a private equity firm in 1998.Soon after starting operations, Fortress Investment Group experienced a very rapid growth, which saw its managed assets shoot from below $400 million to $3.9 billion, within its first five years of operation. The company also made several acquisitions that impacted positively on its growth. Some of the major acquisitions that Fortress made include Penn National Gaming, (a firm that operated numerous horse racing venues and casinos), RailAmerica, and Florida East Coast Industries, which owned Florida East Coast Railway. Also in the acquisition was Intrawest, a Canadian based company that operated the largest ski resort in North America.
By 2007, Fortress Investment Group had managed to have more than $32.6 billion in assets under management.The whole growth journey of Fortress Investment Group has been a success. This has however not just happened as a coincidence or by luck. It has been as a result of many principles and core competencies that the firm possesses that make it outstanding in the investment industry. One of the key success factors of Fortress Group has been its asset-based nature of the investments that it runs. Besides having Private equity and credit fund as the main asset strategies that Fortress manages, it has also included real estate, hedge funds, and other permanent financial vehicles. All this is with one objective; to diversify its portfolio into one that can generate long-term cash flow. In 2010, Fortress Investment Group continued to enter in partnership and acquisition contracts with other reputable firms. For instance, it acquired Springleaf Financial Services, which was formally AIG’s American General Financial Services. Other companies involved in these contracts included Graticule Asset Management Asia, Logan Circle Partners, Mount Kellett and D.B. Zwirn & Co.
Currently, Fortress has an international clientele base with more than 1750 institutional and individual investors. It manages assets worth more than $60 billion on behalf of its clients. This is made possible by the company’s able team that constitutes of more than 1000 employees, 220 of them being investment professionals that ensure smooth management of the firm’s operations.