Bruce S. Sherman

Class of 2024

  • Chairman and Principal Shareholder Miami Marlins
  • Chairman, CEO and Co-founder Private Capital Management

Make your own luck through education, perseverance, and hard work.

Bruce Sherman was born in Auburn, New York, in 1948. He grew up in Queens, the third and youngest son in a middle-class family. His father worked as an engineer and his mother was a schoolteacher in her later life.

“My mother was a college graduate, which was unusual for those days. After she had raised my brothers and I, when she was 50, she earned her master’s degree and taught in New York public schools for the next 20 years. I’ve always admired that about her,” Sherman says.

Sherman’s mother exuded positivity. “She is the only person I’ve met in my life who never had a bad word to say about anyone,” he recalls. “She was kind and loving and influenced me greatly.”

Sherman describes his father as reserved. “He cared as much about my character marks on my report cards as my academic grades. In my high school yearbook, he wrote, ‘May your life be filled with memories of constructive activities.’ He wasn’t a ‘let’s play ball’ sort of dad.” Still, Sherman grew up loving all sports—especially baseball.

For about four years, he had a paper route that included 120 customers. “I loved the days when I collected the money from my customers,” he says. “I was always given a lot of coins as part of their payment and that’s one of the reasons I got into coin collecting, which I have continued for my entire life.”

Overall, Sherman was a B student, but he did exceptionally well in math. After taking what was called a “Special Pupil” test in sixth grade, he was offered an opportunity to combine seventh, eighth, and ninth grade into two years instead of the typical three. “In most ways this was good for me,” Sherman says, “but I also had to leave all my friends and start over with new relationships.”

Before graduating high school at age 17, Sherman joined his brother to visit his brother’s friend who was attending the University of Rhode Island. “I loved the campus despite it being one of only two I’d ever seen and decided that was the school for me. I had no college counseling. My parents thought I should major in accounting so I could get a job as soon as I graduated, and that is what I did.”

Shortly before graduating from URI, Sherman participated in on-campus interviews with large accounting firms. He accepted a job with Arthur Young and Company. “They enrolled me in a training program, and I got my CPA,” he says. “I was a little intimidated in those early days. Many of my co-workers were from Ivy League schools, but I persevered and did well. Arthur Young was an incredible foundation for my entire career.”

For the next nine years, Sherman worked as an accountant at Arthur Young. While working full-time, he attended school at night to earn his MBA from Bernard Baruch College in Manhattan, which he completed in 1973. These 17- hour days included a daily two-hour commute each way to and from his office, and on the nights when he wasn’t attending class, he taught accounting at Queensborough Community College.

When the firm asked him to transfer to their Pittsburgh office, Sherman said he would accept only if they offered him a partnership. The company couldn’t guarantee that outcome, so Sherman began to look for alternatives. “I’ll always be grateful for my start at Arthur Young and Company (now Ernst and Young), but I knew deep down it was not the right environment for me.”

Leaving a steady job and having no immediate career path unnerved Sherman. “In those days, I was living paycheck to paycheck,” he says. “I had a mortgage and a family that counted on me for their support. My eldest brother, Peter, offered to let me use his downtown office in Manhattan from where I could apply for career opportunities. His emotional support meant a lot to me. He is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, and I’ve always admired him. I wanted to prove to him and my other brother, Joel, that I could be successful.”

Two months later, Sherman was hired as a financial executive at the Collier Family Office, a company that owned a wide variety of businesses in southwest Florida. For the next several years, Sherman worked diligently, but began to realize that he would never achieve economic equity if he stayed on the current path. “There was no possibility of stock options in a private company, and my goal was to become an equity participant,” he explains.

In 1986, he co-founded the wealth-management firm Private Capital Management (PCM) and his first client was the Collier family. PCM grew to become the largest independent asset manager in the southeastern United States and one of the largest firms in the country. “Over the next 20 years, PCM went from one client to 7,000. At one time, we managed, on a fully discretionary basis, $35 billion. I’m very proud of that.”

Sherman sold PCM to Legg Mason in 2001. The sale was at a record valuation based on PCM’s assets under management. Following the sale, Sherman retained autonomy over PCM’s portfolio management and investment research and led the company to a prestigious #1 ranking in the country for 10 years as measured by Nelson’s “World’s Best Money Managers.”

In 2009, Sherman retired and formed his own family office to manage his personal assets and his extended family’s assets. In 2017, he became the chairman and principal owner of the Miami Marlins, a Major League Baseball team. “I’ve loved baseball my whole life,” Sherman says. “It is a privilege to be a team owner.”

As soon as he retired, Bruce and his wife Cynthia focused on philanthropic endeavors. Together, they are deeply involved in the Marlins Foundation outreach initiatives and programming, as well as many philanthropic organizations in South Florida. They have been Trustees of the Naples Children & Education Foundation for more than 20 years, which supports underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County.

The Shermans also founded the Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation. Among the Foundation’s missions is supporting medical institutions and health initiatives. The Foundation administers the Sherman Prize to recognize and reward individuals who go above and beyond to make exceptional contributions in the fight to overcome Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The Foundation also endows the Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Professorship in Urological Research and Innovation at New York University’s School of Medicine.

In 2021, the Foundation partnered with the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to establish the Palm Beach Vision Health Initiative, a pediatric vision screening program for children living in underserved communities.

After becoming the principal owner of the Miami Marlins, Sherman embraced the responsibility that the position required. “I’ve learned a lot,” he says, “and that’s something I recommend—later in life, you should learn something new. I love what I’m doing today. It’s been a great opportunity to educate myself about a completely new industry and to take the reins of the Miami Marlins.”

Sherman calls his life philosophy HDT: the Happy Day Theory. “We all have challenges and problems,” he says, “but it’s up to the individual to manage any negative factors that might influence their life. Focus on the problem and do what you can to fix it but try to see the positive in all situations. For me, my Happy Day Theory is to recognize that my family and friends are more important than anything else. When you are confronted with a roadblock, you just have to push ahead, and good things will happen.”

Sherman’s definition of success has changed over the years. When he was younger, it was financial security. “Today, I measure success by what I give back. A lot of my philanthropy involves supporting at-risk children. If there is one thing I hope any vulnerable child understands it is that they are not alone in their struggles. If they need help, they should seek it out—because help is there for them.”

When he addresses young people just getting their start, he advises them to be open to risk. “I think that you can take more risks until the age of 35. If you aren’t in the right career, don’t be afraid to try something else. If I had stayed in my first position out of college, I would never be where I am today.”