Baupost Deputy Plans Own Hedge Fund

Oct 24 2012 | 12:59pm ET

The number-two man at Baupost Group is becoming his own number one.

Herb Wagner will leave the Boston-based hedge fund at the end of the year to start his own firm, Baupost told clients yesterday. Details of Wagner's plans were scarce in the letter. He will seed the fund himself and plans eventually to raise outside capital.

Wagner has served as co-portfolio manager at Baupost, alongside founder Seth Klarman, for two years, and has worked at the hedge fund for 13. He also served as co-head of public investments at the firm alongside Baupost's London head, Jim Mooney, who will now take those reins on his own.

Klarman told clients of the $25 billion firm that Mooney has overseen many "high successful" distressed debt investments and that he and Klarman have planned his expanded role for about a year. And he strove to downplay the impact of Wagner's exit, which he said was first mooted last month.

Employee turnover is a "natural course of events" at hedge funds, Klarman wrote. And "nothing in the portfolio was bought or sold without my own involvement and approval," he added.

"Herb's departure will create opportunities for many others to take on new challenges and greater responsibility, continuing our focus on progress and succession planning," Klarman wrote in the letter, portions of which were obtained by Bloomberg News. "Baupost has lost senior, highly talented team members before, and each time has emerged stronger."

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