Gerald Tsai, Jr., a legendary financial whiz and performance funds pioneer, died at the age of 79 last Wednesday. In the 1950s and 1960s, Tsai turned a canning company into Primerica, which later became the foundation of Citigroup.


In 1958, Tsai created Fidelity Investment’s first aggressive growth fund, which helped generate interest in momentum investing. Five years later, at the age of 34, he became an executive vice president.


At Fidelity, Tsai“showed himself to be a shrewd and decisive picker of stocks for short-term appreciation,'” John Brooks wrote in the book “The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street's Bullish 60s” in 1973.


Tsai had an extensive career, and found personal success in the Manhattan Fund, which he later sold to CNA Financial Corp. Later on in the 1980s, Tsai was heavily involved with the American Can Company, and then he entered insurance industry, finding success there as well.


Tsai was born in Shanghai and moved to the United States when he was 18 years old. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Boston University. Tsai was married four times, all of which ended in divorce; however, he is survived by three children and five grandchildren.


“He loved doing transactions,” his son Christopher said. “He loved the excitement of it.”

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