Gary Townsend is striking out on his own after a six-year partnership with veteran banker Vernon Hill.
Townsend has formed GBT Capital Management, a Chevy Chase, Md., hedge fund that is looking to raise up to $100 million. Townsend, a former equities analyst, says the fund will invest in financial firms but will also look at overseas opportunities in Europe, Japan and emerging markets.
"I won't be as focused on financials as I have been in the past but I will still be using a long-short approach" to investing, he says.
"I'm still working on the funding," Townsend adds. "It is always challenging to raise money, but fortunately I've got a history with investors."
Townsend spent a decade at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey before forming Hill-Townsend Capital with Hill in 2007. The investment firm represented a comeback of sorts for Hill, who had just resigned as chief executive of Commerce Bancorp in Cherry Hill, N.J., following a fall out with regulators.
The timing was interesting, too, taking place right before the onset of the financial crisis. "At the time, the idea was that we were going to see tough times in the financial space," Townsend says. "Hopefully, we won't see that again, but the experience certainly will aid my thinking in investment opportunities in coming years."
Hill-Townsend essentially shut down last year, returning its funds back to investors. "In short, Vernon and I were partners for nearly six years and that is a pretty long time for partnerships to hold up," Townsend says.
"We simply went in different directions," he adds. Hill "was a superb partner and hopefully he will be again in the future."