MacKay Shields Financial is seeking to raise $500 million for its long/short high-yield bond fund--a rare type of hedge fund that the firm launched September 1, according to BW sister publication Foundations and Endownment Money Management. "The environment is perfect for long/short funds because they are able to generate yield in a tough market," said Robert Nisi, managing director at MacKay Shields, which is seeking to raise assets from both domestic and international investors--especially foundations and endowments--by the fourth quarter of next year. Currently, the fund has raised slightly more than $75 million. The firm is targeting the non-profits through existing relationships and consultant contacts, and is seeking to take advantage of the high tolerance for risk and increased interest in alternative investments by non-profit funds. The funds are managed by Don Morgan, the firm's lead high-yield bond portfolio manager.
The fund would contain up to 20% in distressed debt, said Morgan. Currently, it contains about 7%. Morgan added that the current notion that there are not enough high-yield bonds available in the market is a misconception. "Most large mutual funds lend their bonds to give themselves a bit more of an incremental return," said Morgan. "We use Salomon Smith Barney's and Bear Stearns' trading desks, and we're getting a borrow on about 85-90% of the bonds we're looking to borrow.