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Meet 2023’s Hedge Fund Rising Stars
These ten up-and-comers will be honored at Institutional Investor’s Hedge Fund Industry Awards on May 11.
They grew up everywhere from the Middle East to the New York suburbs.
Two of them initially thought they would become doctors, another a writer.
And each one of them has been identified as someone to watch in the hedge fund industry.
Institutional Investor’s 2023 class of Hedge Fund Rising Stars includes hedge fund founders, allocators, and employees of well-known hedge fund firms. All ten have caught the attention of bosses, peers, and others who nominated them for the recognition.
These Rising Stars will be honored on May 11 at II’s 20th Annual Hedge Fund Industry Awards, a gala dinner celebrating the best investors among managers and allocators alike.
There is no guarantee that they will go on to become hedge fund luminaries — but their futures certainly look bright.
When Abrams was growing up in New York City, his fifth-grade teacher required the class to choose a job and create a monthly budget for living independently. Abrams had decided to be a chef, until he overheard the teacher telling a classmate who had chosen stockbroker to put together a mock portfolio to use as a salary. “I said I wanted to do that,” he recalls. A career was born.
By ninth grade, Abrams was using part of his bar mitzvah money to invest in penny stocks, inspired by a friend’s father who seemed proficient at it. Abrams and several friends made a couple thousand dollars — and then started giving advice to other students. “Everyone set up an account, and we told them what to do,” he says. “I was obsessed.”
He headed off to the University of Michigan — where he had always dreamed of going, partly because his dad and his dad’s entire family had gone to Big Ten rival Ohio State University — and immediately entered the business school. After graduating in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Ross School of Business, Abrams got a job at RBC as an equity research associate covering internet stocks under internet specialist Ross Sandler.
Eighteen months later, he moved with Sandler to Deutsche Bank, then went to the buy side after a year. He then spent nearly three years at Alkeon Capital Management covering internet and hard tech stocks, followed by another three years at East Bay Asset Management covering U.S. internet stocks.
Abrams joined fast-growing long-short firm Holocene Advisors in September 2018. He is the firm’s primary lead on the global internet, media, telecommunications, and fintech team. “I hope to never leave,” Abrams says, asserting that Holocene is the most rewarding organization he has ever been part of and praising founder and CIO Brandon Haley (Citadel’s former equity chief). Haley has created “the only investment culture that I am aware of that actually walks the walk when it comes to creating a culture of collaboration,” Abrams says.
When Carter started at the University of Virginia, he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to be a lawyer — his father’s profession — or go into finance.
He made up his mind in his senior year when he took an investing course with UVA alum and Tiger Cub John Griffin of the now shuttered Blue Ridge Capital.
In the first half of the semester, he was required to read philosophy books to help foster a different way of thinking, and in the second half, he learned about investing — both long and short. The culmination was having to pitch a long and a short investment to several of Griffin’s hedge fund friends, including the late Julian Robertson Jr., founder of Tiger Management; Lee Ainslie III, who heads up Maverick Capital; and Tiger Cub Roberto Mignone, founder of Bridger Capital.
“It was fun and stressful,” Carter recalls. “But they kept the kid gloves on. No one tried to make me feel bad. They wanted to hear the ideas.” He says the experience “cemented” his ambition to be an investor and work for a hedge fund.
After graduating from UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce with a bachelor’s degree with distinction in commerce and a second major in economics, Carter joined Anchorage Capital Management in a two-year program as a junior analyst. He wound up sticking around for an additional eight and a half years. Carter eventually rose to managing director and sector head of consumer health care and retail, responsible for covering 25 to 30 stocks and a team of analysts and junior people. It was a relatively concentrated portfolio, and he did a significant amount of shorting in a rising stock market.
Carter launched his own firm, Blackbarn Capital, in the winter of 2022 and began trading with internal capital in July 2022. In December, the firm raised $200 million from the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, which in turn will get part of Blackbarn’s revenues. Blackbarn, which currently manages $250 million, runs a relatively concentrated book focused on fundamental corporate long and short investments via fixed-income, distressed securities, and liquid public equities. “We’re focused on generating absolute returns in all markets,” Carter says.
Dieckman always planned to be a doctor, like her immigrant mother and grandmother. “They were both strong women and my role models growing up,” recalls Dieckman. So at Cornell, she focused on science, initially majoring in biology as a premed student.
But she also had an interest in the financial markets. In fact, while attending her New Jersey high school, Dieckman had started an investment club with her friends, putting money into dot-com stocks. In her sophomore year of college, Dieckman took a few finance courses and subsequently changed paths, eventually graduating with a bachelor’s degree in applied economics and management.
Following her sophomore year, she got a summer internship at Morgan Stanley working in equity research. The next summer, Dieckman interned at Goldman Sachs in its rotational program. After graduation, she joined Goldman full-time and stayed for more than 21 years, eventually becoming the firm’s global head of capital introduction. She also oversaw the U.S. consulting team, as well as the function within the prime brokerage that put out content to clients.
“I was drawn to the group for several reasons,” Dieckman recalls. It was an entrepreneurial group, she enjoyed working with Goldman’s clients as well as the limited partners, and she “loved the meritocracy.” Notes Dieckman, “The industry was young at the time, and I felt I could do well even without many years of experience. What mattered more was your hustle and smarts.”
But in 2022, when Lone Pine Capital managing director Mala Gaonkar left to found SurgoCap Partners, Dieckman decided to join the high-profile startup, mindful that she was leaving a significant job behind. Gaonkar “was looking for someone to head up fundraising,” Dieckman explains. “I knew it was something to take seriously. She was extremely well known in the industry and knew her reputation. To work for one of the most prominent, successful women in the industry was icing on the cake for me. There are not many hedge funds run by women.”
Harvard Management Co.
Goldstein, a Chevy Chase, Maryland, native, majored in English at the University of Pennsylvania. “I am in a family of lawyers and wanted to be a writer,” he says — perhaps a journalist or a screenwriter.
But in his senior year, in 2006, the markets “were roaring” and many of his friends were going into investment banking. Goldstein decided to interview with the big banks but got no bites — owing, he concedes, to his lack of a finance background.
One firm, however, did make him an offer: Cogent Partners (now Greenhill Cogent), a relatively new firm at the time and a pioneer investment bank that matched buyers and sellers of private equity partnerships. But Goldstein felt burned out after two years and decided to take the LSATs, figuring he would go to law school.
“I thought I did the finance thing and it was not for me,” he recalls. But about the same time, another limited partner he had interviewed with passed his name to Columbia Investment Management Co., and he was hired as its second analyst. Goldstein says this is where he learned what a hedge fund is.
He eventually rose to become managing director, where he was involved in all aspects of the investment management process, including sourcing and underwriting new investment opportunities, monitoring the existing portfolio, and building standardized analytical tools used in evaluation of investments across the portfolio.
Then in February 2017, he joined Harvard Management Co. as a managing director of the investment team. Harvard has a generalist model, and Goldstein spends his time sourcing on the hedge fund side as well as sourcing other investments in equities, private equity, and real estate, among others.
Since Goldstein’s arrival, HMC’s hedge fund allocation has risen substantially, from 21 percent of assets under management in the 2018 fiscal year to 33 percent in fiscal year 2021. As of June 30, 2022, HMC was managing $50.9 billion.
Even now, Goldstein says he still draws on his background in English: “I look at data, synthesize it, and make a thesis.”
Growing up in Tampa, Florida, Gylfe knew he wanted to work for a hedge fund. “I was always interested in long-short equity,” he recalls.
After graduating from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree with honors in finance and a master’s in finance, Gylfe spent one year at Citi as an investment banking analyst before getting his first hedge fund job, at multistrategy giant Millennium Management as an analyst in the energy group.
Shortly afterward, he moved over to covering industrials and materials, an area he wanted as his specialty. “I knew I was a hard-asset type of person,” Gylfe says. “I ruled out tech, health care, and some of the stuff that is less physical.”
He has covered industrials and materials companies ever since.
After a couple of years at Millennium, Gylfe moved on to Balyasny Asset Management, where he was a senior analyst running a carve-out portfolio focused on industrials and materials with one analyst. He then worked at Hutchin Hill Capital, running a similar portfolio with two analysts.
In 2016, Gylfe left Hutchin Hill to start Bay Street Capital, a long-short market-neutral, factor-neutral fund. But he would shut it down just two years later.
Gylfe says the decision was not based on performance. Rather, he found himself spending a lot of time on a number of matters, including fundraising, rather than investing.
He then joined Citadel Global Equities, where he ran a portfolio focused on industrials and materials. All along, however, Gylfe had kept in touch with people at Millennium.
In early 2021, he returned to the hedge fund where he got his start. This time, he is a senior portfolio manager, having built and run a fundamental long-short equity strategy focused on the industrials and materials sectors with a team of five analysts.
“I always felt I had a great relationship with the firm, and I kept an open dialogue,” Gylfe says. “I knew management well. I got an opportunity to come in and build a team.”
Irenic Capital Management
Talk about starting right out of the gate. Just two months after Katz and his co-founder, Andy Dodge, launched Irenic Capital with more than $300 million in the summer of 2022, the activist fund publicly opposed the Murdoch family and News Corp’s reported plan to possibly recombine with Fox Corp., which was ultimately scotched. Making an early, high-profile foray into activism “was not our intention, but it worked out that way,” Katz says.
Irenic has engaged in three public campaigns since its launch, the two others aimed at Capricorn Energy and Theravance Biopharma. It was also reported that Irenic was involved with Barnes Group.
Katz and Dodge met at Harvard as freshman, then roomed together for three years. Katz had begun investing in stocks when he was 13 or 14 using his bar mitzvah money, but he started to develop a strong interest in investing and hedging during college, when he and his friends actively made wagers on political events and sports. In one case, they bet that John Kerry would defeat George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election in all five New England states — which Katz describes as a long basket — but hedged with a short bet that Kerry would lose New Hampshire. “It was like event-driven trades, and we hedged out our risks,” Katz says.
When he graduated in 2007, he co-launched a woman’s e-commerce company, FabFitFun, now backed by Kleiner Perkins, NEA, and Upfront Ventures.
Wanting to do something different, Katz left in 2009 to return to Harvard, where he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a JD from Harvard Law School, while still running the business through 2011.
After passing the bar, he joined Paul Singer’s Elliott Management in its situational investing group, a catchall group that included everything from special situations to sovereign credit and private equity, as well as activism and distressed. At Elliott, Katz was lead analyst on many high-profile activist investments, including the firm’s 2017 proxy contest at Arconic, which led to the departure of then-CEO Klaus Kleinfeld and a settlement that added three new directors to the board.
With Irenic off to a rapid start, Katz is focused on keeping the momentum going: “We need to put up great risk-adjusted returns, and we have to do great work,” he says. “We are building a reputation, which matters in future engagements, gives credibility for the next one.”
Growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, just a few blocks from McMaster University, Ross knew she wanted to be a part of the world-renowned research institution. In high school, she made that happen, getting a job working in the university’s hematology lab.
Ross attended New York’s Stern College for Women — the women’s college of arts and sciences at Yeshiva University — starting out premed before switching to a biology major. “I realized pure sciences and clinical development and trials and bringing things to market can have a broader effect on people,” she says.
Ross then earned a master’s degree in biotechnology from Columbia University, with her thesis work focused on hematology and molecular medicine. “I went back to my roots, [back to] when I spent time in the lab in Hamilton,” she recalls.
A seminal, serendipitous moment occurred at a wedding in New York, when a relative on her husband’s side learned about her background. This relative was friends with a person connected to a hedge fund, and the conversation led Ross to a consulting job at that small hedge fund, where she essentially handicapped drugs in clinical trials. “I would look at individual programs, write a paper making a hypothesis on whether the trial would work,” she explained. “I got enough right.”
Ross determined that by working with hedge funds, she could potentially make a bigger impact on research by helping to fund innovation. She started her hedge fund career at Ursus Capital, covering the biopharmaceuticals industry with a focus on small- and midcap oncology companies, before moving on to Soros Fund Management as the global health care sector analyst. She then joined PointState Capital as a vice president covering biotherapeutics and medical technology.
After that, Ross moved to Sphera Capital, running the Israeli firm’s U.S. office and its two biopharma hedge funds, which managed $1 billion at the peak.
In 2022, she launched StemPoint Capital, a long-short equity fund specializing in the global life sciences industry, in partnership with Leucadia Capital. The fund, which began trading in January 2023 with $250 million in committed capital, is 40 to 80 percent net long.
“I’m still using my brain,” Ross explains. “I’m applying the same things I do in a lab to make experiments work. To discuss this with companies and world experts as the genomic world is unfolding and to engage with them is incredible.”
When Serri joined Air Canada Pension Investments in 2011, the $10 billion pension portfolio was more than 40 percent underfunded and shares of Air Canada were trading for less than a buck. At the time, the pension fund had a traditional portfolio of stocks and bonds. Serri was one of several early hires who helped build the hedge fund and private debt portfolios at Air Canada as part of a broader business plan to turn around the pension plan.
Three years later, the pension fund was fully funded, and it now has a surplus. Total assets have more than doubled, to about $27 billion, including leverage and overlay strategies. Air Canada’s stock, which peaked at $50 before the Covid-19 pandemic, recently traded at about $20.
“We achieved the objective of Air Canada,” Serri says, proud that the alternatives unit played an important role. Now he is the day-to-day portfolio manager of the hedge fund and private debt portfolios, leading a team covering hedge funds, private debt, real estate, infrastructure, private equity, and emerging markets.
In 2019, when it began managing third-party capital, the group changed its name to Trans-Canada Capital. An Air Canada subsidiary, Trans-Canada operates its hedge fund strategy as a portable overlay to the total pension plan, trying to generate additional returns on top of the rest of the portfolio. The objective is to capture alpha return, diversification, and downside protection while also being market-agnostic and having low correlation to equity and credit beta markets.
The hedge fund portfolio, which generally has about 14 names across a wide variety of strategies, has had no down years in 12 years. It also does co-investments, which have compounded in the mid- to high teens.
Before joining Air Canada, Serri spent six years working in Concordia University’s investment office in Montreal, responsible for the endowment portfolio allocating to all asset classes, including alternatives. He had originally moved to the Canadian city to pursue a western education and career, citing Montreal’s international feel.
Serri, who was born in Syria, moved around a lot while growing up, living in several Middle Eastern countries and in Lisbon before moving to Canada. He attended Concordia, earning a bachelor’s degree in commerce, before getting an MBA at nearby HEC University.
Schonfeld Strategic Advisors
When Silverman applied for a summer internship at Goldman Sachs in the special situations group following his junior year of college, he remembers, he was put through a rigorous interview process. The Harvard undergrad had come off two satisfying summers interning at Sempra Energy Trading in the trading department.
Ultimately, Silverman did not receive a final offer. Instead, Goldman called him back for its sales and trading rotational program, where he wound up sitting on three different desks — energy trading, foreign exchange options, and credit trading. “It was a frustrating summer because you can’t prove yourself,” Silverman recalls, sounding a common refrain among interns. However, that summer did lead to a full-time job on the credit desk upon Silverman’s graduation in 2007 with a degree in applied mathematics. It was the start of a career specializing in credit.
“The credit markets were starting to blow up a bit,” Silverman says. “I was thrown right into the fire. It was a very fortunate experience.” He would go on to spend nearly a decade at Goldman, rising to become one of the firm’s youngest managing directors ever in 2014. During his tenure, he focused on distressed credit trading.
Silverman then moved over to GoldenTree Asset Management as head of leveraged credit trading. He says GoldenTree added functionality to make trading more of a risk-oriented function. “They have a great reputation and had a strong surge in capital,” Silverman notes.
He then joined Anchorage Capital Group as managing director focused on high-yield and distressed investments. Silverman says he got better at risk taking while working there. Last year, however, Anchorage shut down its flagship hedge fund and underwent a major restructuring.
In July 2022, Silverman joined Schonfeld Strategic Advisors as a portfolio manager and head of credit within the discretionary macro and fixed-income group. He leads the 20-person credit business globally across credit strategies after successfully pitching a plan for building a collaborative credit business across credit strategies within the multimanager firm. “Schonfeld bought into the plan, and I bought into Schonfeld,” Silverman says.
Sellaronda Global Management
When Ter-Grigoryan met with Cadian Capital founder Eric Bannasch in late 2014, after resigning from a job at TPG Axon, they discussed the idea of Ter-Grigoryan launching his own firm. Instead, he joined Bannasch’s now $2.5 billion long-short firm in a senior capacity.
In 2017, Ter-Grigoryan became partner and head of the consumer and technology, media, and telecommunications sectors. During his tenure, Cadian went on a tear, racking up gains of between 18 and 21 percent from 2017 to 2019 and surging 55 percent in 2020. “It was a unique experience,” Ter-Grioryan says. “I had the opportunity to help Eric rebuild and reshape the investment process. We had an entirely different team after two years, most of whom I hired and mentored.”
In the summer of 2021, Ter-Grigoryan finally left to launch his own firm, Sellaronda Global Management, a value-oriented hedge fund focused on TMT and consumer sectors. The firm is about to begin trading with several hundred million dollars. “Most of the opportunity is in smaller and midsize companies,” notes Ter-Grigoryan, acknowledging that he enjoys shorting stocks more than finding long positions. “There is more opportunity for contrarian and outside views.”
Ter-Grigoryan was born in Armenia, where he spent his early childhood before moving with his family to Moscow in the 1990s to escape an economic collapse, an energy crisis, and the first Nagorno-Karabakh war in southwestern Azerbaijan.
His parents both went to graduate school for applied math in Armenia. His dad’s first job was as a math teacher, and his mom was trained as a programmer. Ter-Grigoryan, who speaks five languages, attended an international school in Cyprus and a small liberal arts college in Paris before transferring to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, where he graduated two years later with a bachelor’s in economics (summa cum laude).
“Early on, I figured out I wanted to pursue finance at a high level and looked around the world and saw Wharton was the best place,” he recalls. “I didn’t apply anywhere else.”
He started his career as an analyst in the TMT group at Evercore Partners before moving on to the private equity firm at Apax Partners. He joined multistrategy hedge fund TPG-Axon Capital two years later.