What's in a name? Allusions to power, authority, wealth, sex appeal . . . that is, if you can find the right one.
"All the good names are gone! The Internet companies have snagged everything with `capital' or `management' in it for domain names," said Craig Ellis, who is leaving The Orbitex Group of Funds, New York, to form his own hedge fund company in the same city. But he can't find the right name. Or rather, the right name that's not already taken.
"Advisers tell me that all the animal names are gone. And all the Greek and Roman gods. I'm from Idaho, so I thought I'd pick an Idaho name, but they're all gone, too," said Mr. Ellis, who can't even name his company after the Sawtooth Mountains where he grew up. The name is taken.
Mr. Ellis also is having problems with the phone company, which estimates a two-month wait before he can have telephone lines installed. "Goldman Sachs is our adviser (providing outsourced services to hedge funds), and I asked if they could help speed things up, but they said they can't get service any quicker," Mr. Ellis said.
Once he has phones, e-mail, an office and a name, Mr. Ellis will be hired as a subadviser to the two funds he now manages for Orbitex -- the $325 million Orbitex Info-Tech & Communications Fund and a $100 million offshore version of the same mutual fund. Having more than $400 million under management from the outset will help his fledgling hedge fund company flourish, he believes. He has "soft-circled" commitments for about $100 million for his hedge fund, which will also focus on technology and telecommunications sectors.
Mr. Ellis will be joined by a partner, ex-Orbitex manager Konrad Krill, who managed a natural resources mutual fund there. Two analysts also will be hired.
John Davidson, chief investment officer of The Orbitex Fund Group, said this new arrangement is a neat solution for both Orbitex, which retains the manager of its technology fund, which boasted a 170% return in 1999, and Mr. Ellis, who gets a chance to start his own company.
"When you're a relatively small company like we are, you can be flexible and creative about how you keep managers. This arrangement will allow Craig to build a business and won't result in any interruption in the management of the fund. We wanted to do what's best for shareholders," Mr. Davidson said.