A check engine light went off inside Bill Eigen's mind while listening to his auto and truck repair customers in 2007.
CNN Money reports that as Ben Bernanke assured lawmakers the U.S. would avoid an economic storm, Eigen's clients were telling him the exact opposite. Truckers complained of slashed loads, cancelled routes and delayed maintenance.
Those ominous conversations prompted Eigen, who oversees $38bn at JPMorgan Asset Management, to get defensive ahead of many peers by moving heavily into cash heading into the financial crisis.
'It's good to get your hands dirty and find a balance between what's going on in the white collar world and the world of dirty hands and filthy fingernails', Eigen told CNNMoney, while taking a break from changing the power steering pump on his 1995 Ford Bronco.
The portfolio manager is a rare finance exec who spends his days off fixing up cars with mechanics and talking shop with truckers. In fact, Eigen believes his weekly conversations with truckers give him a leg up because they are among the most economically sensitive workers in the world.
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