Eiad Asbahi, 32 – Fund manager/Managing partner, Prescience Investment Group

Badi Asbahi, a Syrian immigrant and the first pediatrician based in Denham Springs, used to chat excitedly about stocks while on the phone with his friends. His son Eiad was intrigued by those conversations.

Eiad attended LSU, and then went on to the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. He dropped out after a year, realizing he didn’t want to become a doctor. He worked as a waiter and barista, saved some money to open a stock trading account and immediately was hooked.

“At that time,” he says, “I didn’t even know what an interest rate was.”

Asbahi returned to LSU to earn his MBA, then moved to New Jersey to take a job as an investment analyst for a hedge fund. The fund later moved to New York.

After almost four years, in 2009, Asbahi left the center of the financial world to return to Baton Rouge and start a fund of his own. He imitated the story of Warren Buffett, who grew up in Omaha, Neb., worked in New York for two years, and then, armed with knowledge gained from the experience, returned home.

“I had a plan from the outset,” Asbahi says.

Raising capital was tough at first, he says, but the word is getting out, thanks to impressive returns this year that put him in the top 1% of the world’s investment managers. Put simply, Asbahi looks for obscure, hard-to-analyze publicly traded companies that are significantly overvalued or undervalued, and invests accordingly.

“People always ask me, ‘Don’t you miss Manhattan?’” he says. “I love Baton Rouge. I’m doing things here that I would never be able to do in Manhattan. It’s so hard to grab leadership positions and make a real difference in Manhattan, which is a fully developed city. This is a place where I can drive change. I just love that.”

Asbahi doesn’t feel pressured to match his 2011 returns every year; ups and downs are part of the business. But he does measure himself against the best in the world.

“I just want to be really good, you know?”

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