In another sign that senior financiers across private equity and investment banking are embarking on their own ventures, Greg Hall, the former head of Blackstone Group’s hedge fund seeding business, has just launched his own strategic advisory firm.
Hall left Blackstone in May after more than 12 years at the firm, latterly as a partner and head of hedge fund seeding and stakes funds, suggesting he was set to try something new. As of November, he’s launched his own firm – Switchback Strategies Group, LLC, which has just been registered with New York State. He has also been a non-executive director of Colorado-based graphics business, Madison Avenue Incorporated, since September.
Hall made the classic switch into private equity from an investment bank. He started out at Goldman Sachs in 1998, but made the move across to Blackstone in July 2001 when he was an associate.
When he left earlier this year, Hall was head of the hedge fund seeding business at Blackstone, which takes equity stakes in new hedge funds and in invests existing hedge fund businesses.Scott Soussa, who co-runs the seeding and stakes funds, became the sole head of strategies. While, Blackstone’s president Tony James described the business as a “hot area”, hedge funds have suffered a lot this year.
Hedge fund closures so far in 2016 have hit their highest rate since 1996, with 530 firms shuttering so far this year, according to Hedge Fund Research. Third Point’s Daniel Loeb said the industry was in the “first innings of a washout”.
Nonetheless, Hall’s decision to step away from a large financial institution and go it alone is indicative of a broader trend across private equity and investment banking. Brian Webber, a partner and managing director at Moelis & Co in Los Angeles, left to start his own private equity firm American Discovery Capital, in September.
Meanwhile, Peter Bacchus, who was joint head of investment banking and global head of metals and mining at Jefferies, is also in the process of gaining regulatory approval for a new company called Bacchus Capital Advisors. And Sebastian Grigg, the former vice chairman of investment banking at Credit Suisse, has launched ESG Corporate Finance.
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