A former principal in Sandler O'Neill & Partners has launched a hedge fund to invest in middle market bank stocks. He hopes to raise between $50 million and $100 million for the effort.

Stephen H. Gordon, who left Sandler O'Neill in July, has invested more than $1 million of his own money in Genesis Financial Partners - a name chosen to signify the beginning of a new phase of his life and career. He will be based in Newport Beach, Calif., a continent away from Sandler O'Neill's headquarters atop the World Trade Center.

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