Former Pension Fund Manager Launches Long/Short Hedge Fund

May 10 2007 | 11:24am ET

Eric Fox, who most recently managed a mid-cap equity fund for the Alabama pension fund, has made the move to what Byron Wien once called as the “dark side.” In March, Fox launched the Alesia Fund, a value-oriented equity long/short hedge fund.

The vehicle is “fairly concentrated,” focusing only on domestic small- and micro-cap names, because “that’s where most of the value is in the market,” with 20 positions on the long side. Fox said he has no hard and fast rules on shorting stocks. 

On the long side, Fox said he currently owns a lot of insurance names, including White Mountains Insurance Group and Kansas City Life Insurance Company. “I also like underappreciated growth stories that haven’t been discovered by the market yet such as Jamba Juice Company,” a chain of smoothie and juice shops, said Fox. “They’re a West Coast-based chain but are moving nationally now and they recently did a reverse merger with a special-purpose acquisition company.” Fox also said NexCen Brands, which acquires intellectual property and IP-centric businesses, is another underappreciated growth story that he’s keeping an eye on.

Fox, who left his old job in mid-February to found his new firm, Birmingham, Ala.-based Brittain Capital Management, has no prior shorting experience but so far he said he’s been “doing pretty well” because “it’s pretty easy to find things that are overvalued.”

The Alesia Fund charges a 2% management and 20% performance fee, with a $100,000 minimum investment requirement. It currently manages $1 million.

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