Analyst Robert B. Albertson has resigned after 12 years as the director of U.S. bank research at Goldman, Sachs & Co. to start a global hedge fund.

Mr. Albertson last week joined the growing number of analysts who have left Wall Street firms to start hedge funds or take positions at fund management companies.

Former Salomon Smith Barney banking analyst Carol S. Berger started a financial hedge fund, Berger*Jackson, after she was downsized out of the investment bank job. And Thomas K. Brown left Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. and went to Tiger Management LLC.

Mr. Albertson is the second high-profile executive with a banking specialty to leave Goldman in recent months. J. Christopher Flowers, who headed the firm's bank merger practice, left in November.

Sally Pope Davis, a longtime bank analyst at Goldman will take over coverage of the money-center banks, while Lori Appelbaum will assume coverage of major regional banks, according to a Goldman internal memo.

"We will not be removing any of the currently, actively followed banks from coverage, nor will any of our ratings change at this time," the memo said.

Mr. Albertson said his hedge fund, Pilot Financial, will invest in international and U.S. bank stocks.

During his last two years at Goldman, Mr. Albertson was also global coordinator of banking and financial services, a position that gave him international banking experience.

He was not a partner in the privately held firm, which last year postponed an initial public offering.

Mr. Albertson denied speculation from within Goldman that he was pushed out and said that his not getting a partnership was not an issue. He said he left to take advantage of investment opportunities.

"There is a worldwide revolution occurring in financial institutions, which is good for profitability" said Mr. Albertson, whose new office is in midtown Manhattan. "I want to participate in the revolution by investing."

He said he expects to capitalize on bank consolidation in the United States and overseas.

"I don't think foreign banks will be buying U.S. banks. But I do think European banks will be buying other European banks," he said, noting French bank Societe Generale's announcement Monday that it would buy Paribas, another French bank.

The analyst will also focus on how well banks are deploying their capital; new financial products; investment opportunities involving troubled banks that are turning around, as the banks in Asia are doing; and banks that specialize in niche markets such as credit cards and mortgages.

Mr. Albertson said he expects his fund to be up and running shortly and plans to continue his relationship with Goldman as a client.

"I would very much consider Goldman as the prime broker," said Mr. Albertson.

"That would be my natural choice."

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