When Daniel, Dirk and Robert Ziff began winding down their storied hedge fund program three years ago, it created a unique opportunity for investors and fund managers to plunder Ziff Brothers Investments’ talent pool, which included Parag Pande. A 13-year ZBI veteran, Pande managed the industries portfolio at the family office. Blackstone Alternative Asset Management hired him in early 2014 as the New York–based firm’s head of research.
A division of $311 billion alternative-investment giant Blackstone Group, BAAM is the world’s largest allocator to hedge funds, with investments worth $68 billion. In mid-2014 chief executive J. Tomilson Hill announced the formation of Blackstone Senfina Advisors, a multimanager hedge fund platform where Pande serves as key portfolio manager. Comprising 12 separate vehicles, the fund of hedge funds is based on what BAAM’s brain trust identifies as the best ideas from equity trading teams. The firm is looking to New York–based Senfina to compete with multistrategy players like Israel (Izzy) Englander’s Millennium Management and Kenneth Griffin’s Citadel.
Senfina, which has amassed nearly $2 billion in assets, gained 20 percent last year. Like many hedge funds, it stumbled out of the gate in 2016, losing 15 percent during the first three months before regaining some ground in March. Under Pande, Senfina, which means “everlasting” in Esperanto, is planning to expand to London and build out its management team. On a January earnings call, Blackstone chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman called the platform the “real star” of his firm’s hedge fund business.
Pande, 41, who grew up in the Detroit area, is ever the Blue Devil. The Duke University economics major and biology minor still gives the occasional guest lecture on financial markets when visiting his college town of Durham, North Carolina. He’s an avid supporter of the Emily Krzyzewski Center, a children’s education–focused nonprofit named in honor of the mother of longtime Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. Pande’s philanthropic efforts have global reach: He also backs India-based aid organization Child Rights and You.
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