FrontPoint Founder Duff Launches One-Stop Shop For Institutions

May 31 2011 | 10:51am ET

Two years after his first post-FrontPoint Partners endeavor went belly-up, Philip Duff is trying again.

The FrontPoint co-founder and former Morgan Stanley executive has founded Massif Partners in Greenwich, Conn, The New York Times reports. The new firm is expected to be a lot like his old firm, Duff Capital Advisors, seeking to offer institutional investors a one-stop shop for advisory, risk management and other services as well as investments, including hedge funds and private equity.

The name isn't the only thing that's changed, however. Where Duff spent a reported $70 million on staff and lavish office space before DCA invested a nickel, Massif has settled  in more modest digs, above a storefront in downtown Greenwich. The times have changed, as well: DCA debuted in March 2008, just in time for the financial crisis to all but guarantee its doom. Today, institutional investors have an increasing appetite for alternative investments.

Duff, who co-founded FrontPoint in 2000 and orchestrated its sale to Morgan Stanley in 2006, is currently building up Massif's staff and infrastructure. And he's taking advantage of FrontPoint's troubles—embroiled in an insider-trading scandal, the firm has moved to shutter most of its hedge funds, including its flagship multi-strategy vehicle—by recruiting that firm's staff, as well as former employees of DCA.

Duff doesn't expect Massif to begin investing until early next year, and he has not begun a serious marketing effort for the firm. It is unclear if FrontPoint's difficulties—and reports that DCA collapsed amidst acrimony between Duff and private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg, which seeded the venture—will have a negative impact on those plans.

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