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Distressed Duo To Start Credit Hedge Fund

Jeff Bersh, formerly head of distressed trading at Credit Suisse First Boston, and Mike Wartell, a former co-head of distressed research at Deutsche Bank, have teamed up to launch an event-driven, long/short credit fund.

Jeff Bersh, formerly head of distressed trading at Credit Suisse First Boston, and Mike Wartell, a former co-head of distressed research at Deutsche Bank, have teamed up to launch an event-driven, long/short credit fund. According to Alternative Investment News, a CIN sister publication, Venor Capital is planning to roll out the fund Oct. 1 with targeted assets of roughly $500 million. Bersh declined to comment.

The duo left their firms earlier in the year and have spent time preparing the fund. Its strategy will be similar to Bersh's proprietary portfolio at CSFB, said an industry official in the distressed space. It will invest across the credit-quality spectrum from high-grade to bankruptcy but will have a distressed bent. The fund will also invest across the capital structure from bank loans to equity. It will typically have a 70/30 or 60/40 long/short ratio.

Venor's fund will differ from other distressed-oriented funds in that it will have a trading focus, the industry official said. Its event-driven nature means that it will seek shorter-term trades on both the long and short sides. This differs from other funds that typically take activist positions and make trades with multi-year durations.

The move comes on the heels of several other distressed pros that have gone out on their own to form hedge funds. D.E. Shaw & Co.'s Max Holmes has set up Plainfield Asset Management, while Satellite Asset Management's David Ford is forming a fund with partners (AIN, 3/14). Mark Brodsky from Elliot Associates and Adam Stanislavsky of John A. Levin & Co. have also set up Aurelius Capital Management.

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