College Football Champ Rolls Out Second L/S Fund

Oct 5 2006 | 3:06pm ET

By Jonathan Shazar

Legendary quarterbacks Joe Montana, Steve Young and Dan Marino have found a success in alternative investments since their retirement from football. And while fellow football player Steven Moore may not be going to the Professional Football Hall of Fame, he does have one thing the newly minted p.e. execs don’t: an honors finance degree from one of the country’s best schools.

Moore, who won a national championship in 2003 with The Ohio State University—on the disputed call that gave the Buckeyes new life (Moore says “it was definitely pass interference”)—has launched his second hedge fund with his year-old firm, Moore & Co. Capital Management. The $30 million Opportunity Fund II rolled out Sept. 15, following the same event-driven equity long/short strategy as his first fund, the $80 million Opportunity Fund I.

Athletes aren’t only interested in starting alternatives firms; they want their money in it, too. (Many of the investors burned in the International Management Association scandal were pro footballers). In fundraising, Moore has targeted a familiar clientele: football players. He says many of his investors are fellow Ohio State alums now in the pros, and the New York-based firm even maintains an office in Moore’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio, also home to his alma mater.

After graduating from college, Moore went to training camp with the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins, but the cornerback injured his ankle. So, degree in hand, he headed to Wall Street, and found he wasn’t the only one with memories of gridiron glory to find a new passion in trading.

“A lot of the guys on the desk are former athletes,” he says. “All of these qualities you’ve built up as an athlete—training, performing every day, working as hard as you can in the weight room just so you can dominate on the field—there’s a lot of things that overlap in trading.”

Last year, Moore founded his namesake firm with an institutional equity trading veteran he met at Citigroup, Gamal Walker, who now serves as head of trading and research at Moore & Co. His experience with equities balances with Moore, who spent his two years on the Street at Citi’s bond desk. Although both funds are primarily equity strategies, Moore says they maintain exposure to currencies, commodities and his specialty, fixed-income.

Goldman Sachs serves as the firm’s prime broker. Both Opportunity funds require a $250,000 minimum investment, and charge a 2% management fee and 20% performance fee. There is a one-year lockup.

Moore and Walker have big plans for the funds, which Moore hopes can grow to as much as $500 million. He’s currently balancing his duties as portfolio manager with his fundraising goals, which include adding $20 million to each fund by the end of the year. “I’m mainly out there raising capital,” he says.

Moore has taken the drive he brought to the pigskin to his new endeavor. “Trading is like a team game,” he says. “You’re on your desk, you’re trying to perform well, but you also have the overall team goal of the desk in mind, to succeed and make money.

“It’s the same with a hedge fund. We’re highly competitive, highly aggressive individuals, but we can channel that, handle some adversity and do what we have to do. We can handle the stresses that come with daily trading, make good trades, stay calm and cool and keep our heads about ourselves.”

And he can do it on a bum ankle.

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