Ex-Fortress Manager Said to Plan West Coast Distressed-Debt Fund

Former Fortress Investment Group LLC managing director Jared Cohen is planning to start his own distressed-debt fund, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Cohen, 37, will receive one of his first investments from his former boss, Fortress co-chairman Pete Briger, said the people, who asked not be identified because the information is private. Cohen’s hedge-fund firm, which will also invest in event-driven equity, will target an initial size of as much as $500 million, the people said. Based in the greater Los Angeles area, Cohen plans to start trading in January, one of the people said.

Gordon Runte, a spokesman for New York-based Fortress, declined to comment on behalf of the firm and Briger.

Cohen is raising money in a year in which several other well-regarded money managers have left established funds to start their own, with some of them on track to begin with initial investments of at least $1 billion. Brevan Howard Asset Management veteran Chris Rokos and ex-Elliott Management Corp. star Didric Cederholm are among the new managers taking advantage of investors frustrated by mediocre performance of some of the industry’s older hedge funds.

At least six new hedge funds are on track to start with a minimum of $1 billion this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, after eight firms began with a 10-figure sum last year. The industry hasn’t seen this many mega-startups since 2005, when 13 funds raised a total $19 billion.

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