The Hedge Funds Club Good Life Interviews – Part 9: Cliff Hartono

Stefan Nilsson and Cliff Hartono in Singapore in 2019.

Stefan Nilsson and Cliff Hartono in Singapore in 2019.

In a new series of interviews conducted by Hedge Funds Club boss Stefan Nilsson, we are aiming to get under the skin of interesting people related to the hedge fund industry. The interviews focus on the people and the good life. Here’s our chat with Cliff Hartono, founder of Jasri Partners and Set in Stone Gallery.


From where and how do you get your daily general news updates?

I try to read broadly and vary my sources geographically. It is interesting to see how certain vested interests and biases shape opinions in different parts of the world. Being based in Singapore, I am fortunate to get a blend of views both east and west – not only from the media but from my own network as well.


What do you do to unwind on a weekend?

Walks in the Botanic Gardens when the weather is good and HBO when the weather is not.


Can you name a great book you have recently read?

“Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art” by Michael Shnayerson. It chronicles the rise of the contemporary art market and the colourful personalities who run the Big Four “blue chip” galleries. As an outsider, it was interesting to see that higher rungs of the art market can be just as competitive and ruthless as the financial services industry – big egos, bitter rivalries, tax evasion, estate disputes… the list goes on. I recently started an art consultancy and education business so this book made for fascinating reading.


What is your soundtrack of choice?

It is very context-dependent – classical music while working, classic rock in the gym and acoustic tracks when going on vacation.


What drink do you start the day with and what drink finishes it?

L-glutamine with water to start the day and fish oil capsules with water to end the day.


What gives you energy?

Filling my mind with good thoughts and surrounding myself with good people.


How do you stay grounded and focused as a person in these turbulent and fast-changing times?

Stoic philosophy – I read the writings of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Miyamoto Musashi.


Can you name a terrific restaurant that you love?

With the current travel lockdown, I especially miss good Indonesian food. Pondok Tempo Doeloe is usually my first stop when I go to Bali and I would highly recommend it.


What’s your favourite museum in the world?

There are so many museums which I could visit over and over again – MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin… If I had to pick one though it would be the Natural History Museum in London – it has an amazing collection of fossils housed in a stunning example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture.


Are you active on social media and what do you actually use it for?

Not as active as I would like in terms of promoting my businesses – I use it mainly to stay in touch with friends who live overseas.


Do you have any secret guilty pleasure that you are prepared to reveal here?

Haribo gummy candy.


What kind of battle dress do you normally put on for work?

I used to wear the full banker armour – tailored suit and tie – during my days at Credit Suisse in London. Nowadays it is mostly just pants and Batik shirts.


Do you celebrate your wins? If so, how?

I don’t really celebrate my wins that much. I try to be stoic about both my successes and failures and analyse them unemotionally. Sometimes you succeed when you didn’t work for it and sometimes you fail even though you worked extremely hard and did the right things. I get my satisfaction out of doing the right things and not necessarily the results.


What makes you happy?

A good surf trip – like my last trip to Kandui Villas in the Mentaiwais.