Looking back on Wingspan taking flight

By Simone Foxman

Tue Nov 19, 2013

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Absolute Return also revisits Paulson & Co.’s hat trick at the 2008 Absolute Return Symposium.


One year ago

»» Wingspan Investment Management was raising money and hiring bodies as it approached its March 2013 launch. The fund, founded by former Goldman Buckley "Buck" Ratchford, drew $250 million in seed capital from Reservoir Capital.

A calendar year—and eight months of trading—later, the fund boasts a net return of 14.06% through the end of October. Though it says all of its five strategies have made money, its special situations, distressed credit, and liquidation/legal strategies were the biggest contributors to its performance.

The firm has also raised money; Wingspan now has $345 million under management and is open to new investments. "Being a small, nimble player, there’s a tremendous opportunity in our space," said Brendan Driscoll, Wingspan’s CFO.

Wingspan’s team has nearly doubled, to 12 people. In mid-June, the firm hired Ryan FitzSimons, formerly a vice president on Goldman Sachs’s capital introductions team, to head business development and marketing. The firm has also built out its back office to a team of four.

Five years ago

»» John Paulson’s Paulson & Co. stole the show at the 2008 Absolute Return awards dinner, where it won awards for the best event-driven fund, the best distressed fund, and management firm of the year. "Light will shine on this industry again," Paulson told the crowd. "There will be better times. So I encourage everyone that may not be doing as well as they have in the past to stay focused."

Paulson & Co.’s funds outperformed the markets by a wide margin in 2007 and 2008; in those years its flagship Advantage Fund was up 158.58% and 37.64%, respectively. However, Paulson’s performance has been less impressive in the years since. The same fund lost 52.48% in 2011 and 21.42% in 2012, but is up 15.69% this year through the end of September.

ISSN: 2151-1845 / CDC10004H