October 22, 2014

Money Chase

Lawyer Jodi Chase is a consultant to hedge funds

After 22 years of lobbying, Chase is focusing exclusively on hedge funds.

Amy Keller | 2/17/2012

JODI CHASE, 50
President / CEO / The Chase Firm

Jodi Chase
"We have to spend some time explaining to clients that it's OK that we're in Tallahassee because they expect you to be in New York. ... I don't want to be part of the New York crowd."

Background: After graduating from Florida State University law school, Chase became a political adviser to Agricultural Commissioner Doyle Conner. After Conner's retirement, Chase became vice president of governmental affairs for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. She went on to become the chief lobbyist and general counsel for business lobby Associated Industries of Florida.

Cell phone ring tone: "Mission: Impossible" theme

Marathon woman: "I love to run marathons. I haven't run one lately. It takes a tremendous amount of time to train, and I haven't been training. I've run 10."

For more than two decades, Jodi Chase earned a reputation as one of the most ferocious members of the Tallahassee lobbying corps. As general counsel for Associated Industries of Florida throughout the '90s, Chase says she was "involved in every super controversial issue that there was," from tobacco to tort reform. Later, as chairwoman of Broad and Cassel's government relations practice group, her clients included Harris Corp., the Florida Association of HMOs, kidney dialysis provider Davita, the Florida Apartment Association and others.

She became known as "Chase-in-Your-Face" and "Attila the Honey" for her aggressive pursuit of her clients' agendas. In 2001, during a legislative fight over nursing home liability, Rep. Nancy Argenziano (R-Dunnellon) — miffed at Chase's behavior during a debate on a bill the two had tangled over — sent Chase a 25-pound gift-wrapped box of cow manure. Argenziano, Chase says, was simply a "sore loser."

By that time, Chase had already begun to move into hedge fund consulting. One of Broad and Cassel's hedge fund clients had approached her in 1998 about doing research for the firm and eventually, the firm asked her to step up her role with the fund. "I did that, and I was captive to this very large hedge fund, doing research for them for many years," says Chase, who also landed other hedge fund clients. In 2001, Chase left Broad and Cassel to start her own firm. By 2008, she was devoting more time to her hedge fund consulting than lobbying. In 2009, she left lobbying altogether to focus exclusively on hedge fund consulting.

Chase's comments on her career and other topics:

» "In 2008, the bottom dropped out of the stock market, and a lot of these hedge funds went out of business. Things were really bad, and many, many of my clients just shut down. I could make a decision about whether I wanted to build the lobbying practice, which I know I'm good at, or do I want to build this other side of my firm — and after spending a lot of time really soul-searching about it, I decided I want to build the hedge fund practice back."

» "People that have a fiduciary duty to handle other people's money, they do a tremendous amount of research to make sure that they're right or wrong and then to look for catalysts to decide when they should get in the stock or get out of the stock. So we help them with that all over the world."

» "We're competing with some really big firms that are based in New York and global. We're the small guys, and it's a hard business to get into because hedge funds are really careful with their investors' money."

» "We have a totally different business model than most other Wall Street providers. We get paid a flat fee, and our fee only goes up if our clients grow, so we have to help our clients grow in order for us to make more money. Our fees are not dependent on how many people they employ or how many times they call us or how many hours we work."

» "I don't have any financial background, and I tell my clients that. I can't figure out how they make a trade or how they make money doing this. I'm not analyzing financial statements or anything like that. They do all of that. What we are really good at is the fast pace. That comes from the legislative background. The other woman that does research for us is an attorney, a very, very good commercial litigator. So you have to have really good research skills, and you have to be able to juggle a lot of balls at the same time and do things really quickly."

» "I love to win. That's very gratifying in lobbying, but it also works with this. When you do a really good job for your client, you've won. It feels very good, but the people are completely different."

» "We were standing in the rotunda outside the House chambers and the House was in recess and there were not a lot of people there, and this young man comes up to me with a very big gift-wrapped box and he says, ‘Excuse me, are you Jodi Chase?' And I said, ‘Yes,' and he said, ‘Well, this is for you,' and he put it down at my feet. And I said, ‘Look nobody likes me enough to give me something like that. I don't know what's in that box, but nobody likes me enough to give me a big box like that in this Capitol.' Chase called the Capitol police, who found out that Argenziano had sent the package and what was inside, and shipped it back to her.

» A political future? "There is absolutely no way. I'm just not universally loved. You can tell by the Argenziano episode."

Tags: Politics & Law, Government/Politics & Law

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