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moniker mayhem

Crunching the numbers regarding not-so-creative hedge fund names

Investment strategies might vary wildly, but hedge fund managers seem to lose their creative streak when it comes to naming their firms, research from data-sharing service SumZero Inc., New York, showed.

Luke Schiefelbein, vice president of data at the firm, analyzed the names of the more than 5,000 hedge funds registered on SumZero's information platform and tested the validity of the old joke in the hedge fund industry that all hedge funds name themselves after three things — trees, classical figures and geological features, said Nicholas Kapur, SumZero's chief operating officer.

Mr. Schiefelbein used natural language processing and machine learning tricks to massage the data and created an interactive word map to trace the most popular categories, subcategories and words.

Among the 30 most common root words are value, street, point, river, hill, rock, view, pacific, bridge, blue, wealth, new, creek, alpha and stone.

Mr. Kapur said a very typical name construction using root words would be something like Value Street Capital.

Mr. Schiefelbein's analytical method had some limitations; it could classify only proper English words and couldn't include in the name universe unusual people or place names such as leucadia, balyasny and coatue; acronyms such as AQR, SAC or PDT; or Latin sounding, but not real Latin words such as visium, diversis or infinitas.