Looking back on Fortress's worthy credit bets

By Josh Friedlander, Rob Copeland

Wed Mar 13, 2013

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Absolute Return also revisits a Viking who sailed away.


>> Viking told investors about the departure of Jim Parsons, a technology, media and telecommunications portfolio manager and management committee member. According to the letter, nine-year Viking veteran Parsons left due to differences he had with Halvorsen regarding the direction of the long/short equity shop. "We never like losing a team member, and when a respected partner cites differences in how we choose to operate the firm as one of his reasons for leaving, we pause and reflect," said Tiger Cub Halvorsen in the letter.

"My willingness to drive initiatives and push for change, and my high sense of urgency has sometimes led to misses with Vikings despite my best intentions," wrote Halvorsen. That, combined with a role that "increasingly pulled him in different directions as Viking grew in complexity, detracted from the aspects of the job [Parsons] enjoyed the most," he wrote.

Whatever Viking's culture, it's working. The flagship Viking Global Equities fund gained 12.8% in 2012. 

The firm recently promoted three investment staffers and announced the departure of its head of investor relations, Rebecca Ginzburg, who had been at the firm for 13 years.

>> Three Bridges Capital, the New York-based European long/short equity fund part-owned by Indus Capital Partners, grew with the hire of two senior analysts. Heather Takahashi, formerly of Fortress Investment Group, is still with the firm, while Stefan Hoefner left to work as a credit analyst for Magnetar Capital, according to a person close to the firm.

Two other analysts joined in the latter part of 2012: Brandon Senese, late of Cobalt Capital, and Alex Raytburg, until recently an analyst at Amber Capital.

Though it held $600 million one year ago, Three Bridges was down to $424 million at the start of this year following a muted year for its flagship Three Bridges Europe strategy. The fund gained 4.57% last year, trailing the 7.21% rise for the EuroHedge European Equity Index. Complete performance, including this year's mark, is available here in the HedgeFund Intelligence database.

A Three Bridges spokesman declined to comment.

Five years ago

>> Fortress Investment Group prepped a private equity-style credit fund to invest in distressed residential mortgage loans, distressed securities and mezzanine debt.

It proved to be an excellent time to embark on those strategies, and Fortress launched a second similar strategy one year later. Together, the Credit Opportunities Funds I and II had net annualized internal rates of return of 26.9% and 18.5%, respectively, from inception through December 31, 2012, according to the firm's most recent SEC filings. They manage approximately $5 billion in total.

Returns for a third Credit Opportunities fund, launched in 2011, were not available.

ISSN: 2151-1845 / CDC10004H