North Carolina College Students Launch Hedge Fund

Sep 27 2012 | 10:57am ET

Three North Carolina college students will surely get credit for this extracurricular activity: They've launched a global macro hedge fund.

Elliot Carol, Marcus Varsano and Ryan Mahoney formed Lumina Investments in 2011. Carol (chairman and principal) and Varsano (director of investor relations) are students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington's Cameron School of Business. Mahoney, the firm's specialist in global securities and derivative structures, is a student at East Carolina University.

Their first fund will invest in equities, commodities, fixed-income and currencies in an effort to exploit political and economic volatility worldwide. Carrol said they've received “invaluable” counsel and support from a group of traders, business leaders and investors from around the world.

"Globalization has increased correlation and volatility among international financial markets. We believe there is upside investment opportunity through a strategy founded on understanding international developments and their global impact," said Carol, in a statement.
"Uncertainty in the Middle East is driving up the price of oil, while the growing burden of sovereign debt poses severe long-term economic challenges for Europe and Japan," said Carol. "We're watching these macro events and how they are driving the markets. Focusing only on traditional economic indicators is no longer sufficient to inform investing decisions. This is the new normal."

Varsano said their “entire frame of reference” for the team—all in their early twenties—has been “a post-financial crisis world.”

"Today, you must have sophisticated investment strategies and a willingness to embrace reasonable risk,” said Varsano. “Fast-paced change is a constant. You must account for dynamic computer programming that is a signature of the new generation. There is no returning to the 'good old days' of investing in companies based solely on their balance sheets."

Lumina Investments is registered in North Carolina.

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