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Portfolio > Alternative Investments > Hedge Funds

New Firm Builds Hedge Fund Platform

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NEW YORK (–Timothy Straus has opened up a new integrated hedge fund services organization that is looking to help hedge funds manage their business and their asset-raising efforts.

His firm StoneHedge Partners Inc. recently assumed its corporate structure and has added its first hedge fund client, Radian Capital Management LLC, which will kick off the establishment of a platform for institutional investors interested in investing directly into hedge funds.

Radian has been added to the firm’s platform as a long/short U.S. equity manager. Former portfolio managers at Harbor Capital Management Ben Neidermeyer and William Peck started the firm and both now are opening up the Radian hedge fund expecting to attract some Taft-Hartley plan assets.

Both men were running the small internal hedge fund, while managing assets at Harbor Capital. Starting out with US$5 million, a substantial portion of which is the managers’ personal liquid net worth, Mr. Straus said that Radian is expected to grow to between US$20 million and US$25 million in assets.

Structured as a partnership, StoneHedge’s relationship with Radian will allow StoneHedge officials to maintain an equity stake in Radian Capital in turn for providing advice on infrastructure, risk management, client services and asset raising. StoneHedge also will provide Radian with its CFO Brian Malone, who was CFO at United Asset Management and director of finance at Old Mutual Asset Managers.

“StoneHedge provides separation between risk manager and risk taker,” Mr. Straus, founder and CEO of StoneHedge said. As additional hedge fund managers become partners, the firm may structure a fund of funds offering for institutional investors, he added.

“We believe people are reasonably adamant that they need to know basic due diligence has been done and the business structure is in place,” Mr. Straus said. The firm is focusing on institutional investors who will need to invest in alpha generating vehicles in the future.

The StoneHedge five-member management team includes Messrs. Straus and Malone. Before starting StoneHedge last fall, Mr. Straus was a senior managing director of hedge fund product and relationship management at Bear Stearns. John Nelson, Herbert Hunt and David Ward round out the management team.

Mr. Nelson is StoneHedge’s director of sales and marketing and was a senior vice president sales and marketing at Placemark Investments Inc. Mr. Hunt is director of human resources and due diligence. He had founded his own search firm for the financial services industry before joining StoneHedge. Meanwhile, Mr. Ward is director of operations and joins after working on Wall Street with operations, derivatives trading and risk management systems.

Mr. Straus said that the firm now has a team in place to help in its mission of creating partnerships with best-of-breed hedge funds, while providing centralized and independent services for managers and institutional investors.

Separately, the firm has appointed an outside board of directors, on which George McClelland, former executive at United Asset Management and Fidelity Investments, will serve as chair.

Joining him on the board will be Marc Simons, Richard Berman and Calton Neel. Mr. Simons was formerly executive vice president and chief operating officer of State Street Global Advisors Inc. and brings business leadership experience to the board, according to StoneHedge officials.

Bringing merger and acquisition and business advisory experience, Mr. Bemran founded the M&A department within Bankers Trust and led negotiations with and on behalf of many Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Neel is senior vice president of Phoenix/Zwieg Advisors and business experience. He was previously a vice president of JP Morgan & Co. and a principal of a hedge fund.

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