Big Names Headline Busy Year For Hedge Fund Launches

Feb 21 2014 | 10:57am ET

This year could prove the biggest for hedge fund launches since the financial crisis, with investors flocking to new firms headed by veterans of established—and often unavailable—funds.

Many of the industry's most successful hedge funds are not accepting new money at the moment. A number, citing a paucity of opportunities, have even returned money to clients to avoid harming returns.

Some of that money has gone to new hedge funds led by protégés of some of the industry's biggest names. "Investors want more of that DNA," Morgan Stanley's Darren Levy, who heads capital introductions in the Americas, told The Wall Street Journal.

Things have not exactly returned to pre-crisis levels, when promising names could fetch $5 billion or more for a new launch. But at least one new firm—former Baupost Group co-portfolio manager Herb Wagner's Finepoint Capital—is expected to debut with $2 billion, and the volume of launches is expected to be higher than at any point in the last five years, in spite of hedge funds' relative underperformance over that period.

Yen Liow, a veteran of family office Ziff Brothers Investments, launched his Aravt Global with $1 billion last month. Also coming to market in January was Jim Parsons, formerly of Viking Global Investors, whose Junto Capital Management raised $500 million, despite redemption provisions that make it take two full years to withdraw all of one's money.

Brahman Capital's Paritosh Gupta, the husband of Tiger Ratan Capital founder Nehal Chopra, fetched $120 million for his Adi Capital Management. And Highfields Capital Management veteran Matthew Sidman is expected to find fundraising success for his new hedge fund, as well.

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