Jared Birchall, aged in his late 40s, has since 2016 managed Elon Musk’s fortune
He works from an unassuming eight story office block, beneath an underpass on the outskirts of Austin.
He was fired by Merrill Lynch for ‘conduct resulting in management’s loss of confidence’, and went on to carve out a decent yet unremarkable career in finance: few have ever heard of him.
Yet Jared Birchall is now leading one of the most significant corporate takeovers of our time, as the man Elon Musk refers enquiries to for his $44 billion takeover of Twitter.
‘Once you appoint somebody to run the family office, that means that you trust him,’ said Raphael Amit, a management professor at the Wharton School.
‘And Elon wants to set it up in a way that allows him (Birchall) maximum control.’
Birchall, who is in his late 40s, has worked for Musk since 2016, helping to manage a fortune estimated on Tuesday at $240 billion.
Birchall runs what is termed as the ‘family office’ – a private wealth management advisory firm that serves ultra-high-net-worth individuals.
Elon Musk, 50, hired Jared Birchall in 2016 to manage his finances, and now directs enquiries about the Twitter takeover to Birchall’s Austin office
Birchall is pictured in December 2019, leaving court in Los Angeles after Musk was sued for defamation after he called a British cave diver a ‘pedo guy’. Musk won his case
Musk is pictured on March 22 at the opening of the Tesla ‘Gigafactory’ near Berlin
He has an unusually wide remit, Amit told Reuters.
In 2021 he was registered as the manager of Excession, Musk’s family office, and he is also the chief executive of Musk’s brain chip firm Neuralink; a director at Musk’s tunneling firm the Boring Company; and a board member at Musk’s philanthropic private foundation.
‘Excession’ is the title of a science-fiction novel by Iain M. Banks about artificial intelligence.
Musk was seen carrying the book at a Sun Valley, Idaho, conference in 2015 – a year before Birchall was recruited to run the family office.
In 2019, Musk said that Excession was staffed by ‘essentially two people’. The second person is not known.
By contrast, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates’s family offices both employ around 100 people.
Birchall graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, in 1999 – that year, only two percent of students were not Mormons, Deseret News reported at the time.
Birchall’s Facebook, now little used, suggests a profound personal faith.
He went to work at Goldman Sachs in New York immediately on graduating, and worked as a financial analyst, according to his LinkedIn.
In 2000 he joined Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles, working for about a decade as a wealth manager.
Merrill Lynch discharged Birchall in 2010 for ‘conduct resulting in management’s loss of confidence’ that included ‘sending correspondence to a client without management approval,’ according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) records. Less than a month later, Birchall began working at Morgan Stanley as a wealth manager.
A Morgan Stanley spokesperson told Reuters that Birchall was well-regarded when he worked at the bank and left on good terms.
He left Morgan Stanley after six years to join Musk’s family office.
Birchall’s salary is unclear: there is no regulatory requirement for family offices to publicly disclose their assets or their key personnel.
A father of five, he lives with his wife of 13 years, Laura, in a $4 million, five bedroom mansion in the affluent Destiny Hills suburb west of Austin, 20 miles from downtown.
Birchall is pictured with his five children and wife Laura in 2009
Jared and Laura Birchall are pictured with their five children
The Birchalls live in a $4 million, five bedroom house 20 miles from downtown Austin
The house has a double-height entrance hall and living room, with an open fireplace
The property has a large swimming pool with waterfall and grotto, plus sports courts and an outdoor fire pit set among oak trees in the expansive garden.
The house boasts an indoor fountain, wine room and games room, in addition to six bathrooms.
There is a 12-car garage, and even a tree house.
Birchall’s role has extended beyond finance.
In 2018, he hired a private investigator to look in to a British diver who criticized Musk’s idea of using SpaceX’s mini-submarine to rescue a boys’ soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand, according to court documents.
When Musk called the diver a ‘pedo guy’ in a response on Twitter, the diver sued him for defamation.
In the ensuing trial, it emerged that Birchall, going by the name James Brickhouse, hired a private detective to investigate the diver. Birchall said in court testimony he had an ‘instinct to protect Musk.’
Musk won the case.
‘The idea of loyalty, especially in the family office, is profoundly important, said Amit.
‘Because you’re exposed to the most intimate and private issues that families have.’