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Scott Minerd, a Force, and a Voice, on Wall Street, Dies at 63

Scott Minerd, who helped transform a small investment firm of the Guggenheim family into a global financial behemoth, becoming one of Wall Street’s leading voices in the process, died on Dec. 21 in Vista, Calif. He was 63.

In a statement, Guggenheim Partners said the cause was a heart attack he suffered during a workout.

As the global chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners, Mr. Minerd was a regular commentator on Bloomberg Television and CNBC and a fixture at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His financial prognostications were closely followed by investors. He was also a key adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on financial markets.

Mr. Minerd joined Wall Street in his 20s, just as the industry was experiencing a boom. Between 1983 and 1996, he rose rapidly through the ranks at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley and ran the bond trading desk at Credit Suisse First Boston. But at 37 he retired from banking and moved to Venice Beach, Calif., to pursue a passion for bodybuilding.

Although he remained a dedicated weight lifter for the rest of his life, his retirement didn’t last long, however. In 1998, Mark Walter, a Chicago-based financier, sought out Mr. Minerd to join a new firm he was building that would become Guggenheim Partners.

Mr. Minerd proceeded to help turn Guggenheim into a global powerhouse. It recently managed $285 billion on behalf of insurance firms, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and other clients and has 900 employees in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Mr. Minerd built a reputation for foreseeing the impact of events early on. In 2007, he was among the first financiers to spot the impending global financial crisis and promptly moved Guggenheim’s assets into safer investments, avoiding the worst of the fallout. He was also quick to predict the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, especially on China’s economy.

Before his death, he spent several weeks preparing and participating in a documentary on the history of the Federal Reserve for the PBS program “Frontline.”

Mr. Minerd, who amassed a sizable fortune, was also active as a philanthropist, particularly supporting the L.G.B.T.Q. community and other human rights efforts. He worked, for instance, with the support group SMUG International to create housing for L.G.B.T.Q. people in Uganda. He also provided financial help to refugees and the homeless in Los Angeles.

Mr. Minerd, left, being honored in 2016 at an event sponsored by the group Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, of which he was a board member. At right was Robert M. Smith, the group’s chairman at the time.Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

In 2019, as a board member of the Washington-based organization Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Mr. Minerd joined a delegation from the group in Tijuana, Mexico, where they met with asylum seekers and refugees who had been turned away at the border.

The organization’s president, Kerry Kennedy, said the trip inspired Mr. Minerd to help create and fund a program for immigrants and refugees in the United States. In one instance it lobbied successfully on behalf of 40,000 Cameroonian and 250,000 Haitian refugees who had sought to remain in the country under temporary protective status.

In 2008, Mr. Minerd learned that Union Rescue Mission, a nonprofit that feeds and houses homeless families in Los Angeles, was short on funds and was considering closing one of its residences. He toured the facility and wrote a check for $272,000, said the nonprofit’s chief executive, the Rev. Andy Bales. Since then, Mr. Minerd had donated $27 million to the mission.

The financier Michael Milken, a friend of Mr. Minerd’s who spoke at his funeral, wrote in an email that the two had often discussed “our joint belief in the capacity of finance to be a force for the betterment of society.”

Byron Scott Minerd was born on March 23, 1959, in Connellsville, Pa., to Byron Kendall and Carol (Mitchell) Minerd. His mother was a homemaker, and his father, who was known as Kenny, worked as an insurance agent and spent 40 years employed by what became CSX Railroad.

Mr. Minerd was raised in nearby Chalk Hill, a rural mountain town near the West Virginia border with fewer than 200 residents. After taking classes at the local outpost of Pennsylvania State University, he transferred to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

He started his career as an accountant at what is now PricewaterhouseCoopers but switched to finance, joining Merrill Lynch, which was then a brokerage firm, in New York in 1983. After five years, he joined Morgan Stanley to lead its fixed-income group in Europe before returning to New York in 1994 to run a similar unit at Credit Suisse focused on North America.

In 1996, he left trading for the beaches of Los Angeles until Mr. Walter, one of his former clients at Credit Suisse, persuaded him to return to Wall Street. In 2005, Mr. Minerd became Guggenheim’s chief investment officer, a position he held for more than two decades as the firm added hundreds of billions of dollars in assets.

Mr. Minerd also served on the board of overseers at the Hoover Institution, the conservative think tank.

He is survived by his partner, Eloy Mendez, whom he married in 2017. He and Mr. Mendez recently helped produce a short documentary, “We Are Here,” which looks at the lives of four undocumented immigrants under 30 years old. It had its debut at the Sundance Film Festival last year.

Mr. Minerd spent the day before Thanksgiving working on behalf of the homeless, frying turkeys, then showed up at the Union Rescue Mission the next day to distribute food, gift bags and bibles, said Mr. Bales, its chief executive.

Days before Mr. Minerd’s death, Mr. Bales said, the last words he heard from him were, “We need to build another place for families to come in from the streets.”

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