Credit crunch casualty Eckert plots hedge fund reincarnation

Thu May 30, 2013 10:19am EDT
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By Laurence Fletcher

LONDON (Reuters) - As comebacks go, it's one of the more ambitious.

Fred Eckert - the hedge fund manager who lost $250 million of his own money, saw his firm go bankrupt in the credit crisis, went through a divorce and spent two months in a coma - is back with the launch of his new firm.

The 65-year-old former Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote) executive, who once lived in one of the most expensive houses in New Jersey, has launched a new firm called Phoenix Star Capital.

Eckert believes he has spotted an opportunity in complex debt securities, based on loans which banks are having to sell to boost their capital positions under the Basel III regulations.

He has already an initial $100 million from investors to pursue the strategy.

And despite a chastening credit crisis, the man who once enjoyed a fleet of 18 vintage cars and a 1,500-bottle wine collection before filing for personal bankruptcy in 2010, remains optimistic about his chances.

"I'm not afraid of being able to raise substantial amounts," Eckert told Reuters in the American bar of the luxury Savoy hotel in central London. "They (investors) believe my record is excellent."

Two potential seed investors are "billionaire names you'd know", said Eckert, relaxed and smartly dressed in suit and tie.   Continued...