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Billionaire Bodyguards

November 14, 2005

By Marcela Vickers

MOST HEDGE FUND MAGNATES got rich protecting other people's assets. Now a New York City security firm has a message for billionaire investors. They're the ones who need protection. T&M Protection Resources, which has been around since 1981, recently started marketing its services to hedge fund managers and now counts ten of them as clients, up from two just a year ago. "It's our fastest growing area," says CEO Robert Tucker. "These guys are making front-page news with their compensation packages and real estate deals."

And no doubt everyone in the hedge fund fraternity still remembers one front-page story: the tale of ESL Investments' Eddie Lampert, who was kidnapped and held at gun point for two days back in 2003. He escaped unharmed, but for peers who don't want to take any chances, T&M will supply armed drivers, body guards, and surveillance systems.

Led by Joseph Russo, a former Secret Service Agent who headed the security detail for President Clinton, they'll also vet potential investments and investors. Household background checks—on the nanny, the dog walker, the cook—are particularly popular with his clients: "They're entrepreneurs. They don't have the protection they'd have at, say, Goldman Sachs or IBM." But given T&M's bill—which can top several thousand dollars—they'd sure better have the cash.