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Hedge executive to launch new firm backed by GE

Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Author: Dane Hamilton, Reuters.com

NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Carrie McCabe, among the most prominent women executives in the hedge fund industry, is launching a new hedge fund investment firm backed by General Electric's (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) asset management division, sources familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

McCabe, formerly chief executive of both Blackstone Alternative Asset Management (BX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and FRM Americas, a $13 billion hedge fund investment firm, is raising money for the new firm, Lasair Capital LLC, and expects to begin investing in coming months, sources said.

It is unclear how much money Lasair intends to raise for its 'fund of funds' strategy, or one which funnels institutional investor money into a portfolio of hedge funds for a fee. The firm will also invest in timber and infrastructure assets, according to a letter McCabe sent to investors that was obtained by Reuters.

The list of financial industry executives starting hedge funds is long. This spring, for example, former Merrill Lynch senior executive Dow Kim plans to open a new hedge fund. But prominence does not always equate into trading success, as demonstrated by last year's blow up of Sowood Capital, a $3 billion fund founded by former Harvard endowment star investor Jeff Larson.

"I wish her well. It's a tough business," said Michael Rosen, principal of Angeles Investment Advisors, a Santa Monica, California consulting firm. "The record of prominent people starting their own firms is mixed."

McCabe could not be reached for comment. A firm representative declined to comment.

Lasair has lined up a handful of prominent industry executives to advise it, including Tanya Beder, former head Citigroup's now-defunct hedge fund Tribeca Global Management, and John Myers, chairman of AG Asset Management who was previously chief executive of GE Asset Management, according to the letter.

The Lasair team will include Frank Caccio, a former Highbridge Capital and Tiger Management executive, as chief operating officer, and Aaron Kilberg, formerly of Kern Capital and Neuberger Berman, as head of relationship management.

Its advisory team includes John Casey, founding partner of Casey, Quirk & Associates and also RogersCasey, both investment consulting firms; and also Sandy Morhouse of law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Lasair dubs itself a "next generation" investment firm that will not only invest in hedge funds but also in infrastructure and timber assets.

The strategy is aimed at institutional investors who are increasingly looking for portfolio diversification to manage their exposure to volatile public markets. (Reporting by Dane Hamilton, editing by Dave Zimmerman)