Charles
Dufresne Jr.
Sciens Capital Management

As more hedge funds fall victim to whipsawing global stock markets, Charles Dufresne Jr. sees an opportunity to expand. The managing director at New York–headquartered Sciens Capital Management is on the hunt to acquire hedge funds and funds of funds to bolster his firm’s asset base — about $8.5 billion, with $2.5 billion of that in hedge funds — for pennies on the dollar. In March, Dufresne, 39, led the acquisition of a socially responsible investment group, now called GOOD Asset Management, from U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, where it ran north of $2 billion.

The Suffield, Connecticut, native cut his teeth on hedge fund acquisitions as an attorney at New York law firm Sadis & Goldberg, where Sciens was a client, from 2008 to 2012. He then joined Tiedemann Investment Group, a New York–based alternative-asset manager, as founding partner and president of a new short-term fixed-income division, leaving for Sciens in 2014.

Dufresne, who holds BA in literature, philosophy and political science from Atlanta’s Emory University, earned a JD in securities law at New York Law School in 2002 and started out at law firm Abbey Spanier, where he served pension clients. Two years later he received an MBA in finance and marketing from Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business in New York, and the strong relationships he forged as a lawyer for public financiers — he’s been a member of the National Association of State Treasurers since 2004 — launched him into finance.

In 2007, Dufresne moved to Cipher Capital Partners, a New York–based hedge fund and private equity start-up, as a director in charge of distribution. Showing a knack for selling financial products, he soon left Cipher to start his own firm, Opvs Group, to invest in Asia with two colleagues based in Singapore. But Dufresne quickly learned that investors in 2008, reeling from the global financial collapse, weren’t too keen on new hedge funds. The Opvs team admitted defeat later that year, and he fell back on his law degree, biding his time to return to the top of a hedge fund firm.

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