S.F. investment specialist will share financial know-how

Entering the world of investing was one of the easiest decisions Warren Hellman, founder of the San Francisco firm Hellman & Friedman, has ever made.

"You see, it was never really a matter of choice. It's who I am. It's in my genes," asserted Hellman, whose father and great-grandfather both worked as investors. "I suppose it's natural that I inherited their love for it."

This spring the 62-year-old Hellman, a major player in the finance industry, will share his investment know-how at the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation's Annual Finance & Real Estate Dinner. Hellman said he intends to use the May 6 dinner to address trends in investing.

Hellman's firm, engaged primarily in the investment of its own capital, handles large investments for privately owned companies in the communications, entertainment and financial services industries.

Founded in 1984, Hellman & Friedman also manages more than $2.5 billion of capital in public and private pension plans for such institutional investors as the California Public Employees Retirement System, the city of San Francisco, AT&T and IBM, as well as endowments for Stanford, Harvard and other universities and foundations.

Other well-known clients include the S.F.-based Levi Strauss, the New York advertising firm Young & Rubicam and Phoenix-based billboard giant Eller Media.

Born in New York City and a graduate of San Francisco's Lowell High School, Hellman graduated from U.C. Berkeley and Harvard Business School. He now lives in San Francisco.

For much of his business career, Hellman and his family resided on the East Coast, where he was a partner and eventual president of Lehman Brothers in New York.

"There was a brief period when I thought about becoming a diplomat. But I can't imagine not doing what I do. I love investing; I love everything about it."

In his spare time, Hellman participates in a monthly Torah study group, serves on the JCF's investment committee and as financial director of the Geballe Supporting Foundation of the federation's Jewish Community Endowment Fund. He also sits on the board of several organizations in the general community.

To keep up his energy, Hellman runs 50 miles a week and is an avid skier.

According to Finance & Real Estate Division co-chair William Atlas, who serves with Hellman on the JCF's investment committee, Hellman is respected not only for his financial expertise but also for his charitable involvement in both the general and Jewish communities.

The May 6 dinner, chaired by John Osterweis, is open to those who have made a $500 contribution to the JCF's 1997 annual campaign.

For information about the Finance & Real Estate Division, or to reserve a spot for the annual dinner, call Lisa Selig at (415) 512-6262.