Robert Lacoursiere left John Paulson‘s hedge fund Paulson & Co. last week to start his own hedge fund. He had been working with John Paulson for four years overseeing the funds invsestment in financials. Lacoursiere is one of the most senior personnel to depart Paulson in recent years. He is in fact the most notable separtaion since the December 2008 departure of Paolo Pellegrini who also left to begin his own fund. Lacoursier has previously held positions with Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Banc of America Securities and Capital One Financial.
Paulson & Co. has been in some disarray since last years record losses. The fund bet large sums on the early recovery of the United States economy that never came to pass. One of the group’s largest funds lost 51% of its value last year, leaving the company to divest much of its financial holdings earlier this year. The company sold stakes in Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) which have since climbed drastically this year gaining 34% and 46% respectively.
Lacoursier is said to be starting his hedge fund operation within six months of this departure. The fund concentrate on equity, particularly international financial institutions. Lacoursier may find it difficult to attract investment into his fund after last year’s losses. He will have to demonstrate a clear understanding to potential investors about what went wrong under Paulson’s financial investments and why his new yet to be named fund will be different. The task ahead of him is certainly a difficult one that will be fraught with challenge, even before he begins to invest.
There is clearly a market for new hedge funds out there. Data reported on earlier today shows that 2011 had almost as many new hedge funds as 2007. The data shows an increased appreciation for innovation in the field. If Lacoursier can show his investors a new strategy and can convince them of its effectiveness he has the stature to attract investment into his new fund. With the markets showing decreased volatility and the Fed’s cautious but optimistic outlook on the future Lacoursiese’s fund could be entering a very different investment world than the one he has worked through for the past four years at Paulson. The turn in the situation, if it lasts, could leave him with a whole new set of challenges different from what he has seen before. Whether or not he is successful Lacoursiere’s new fund will certainly be one to watch in future.