Former FrontPoint Manager Monaco Said to Plan Hedge Fund

Thomas Monaco, who helped manage FrontPoint Partners LLC’s financial services investments, is seeking to start a hedge fund focused on Asian financial stocks, said four people with knowledge of the matter.

Monaco has named his company Nighthawk Capital Ltd., according to a company registration document. He has reached out to investors who may be willing to put money into a new long-short fund, which would bet on rising and falling prices, said the people who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Monaco declined to comment.

Nighthawk would be one of a few hedge funds focused on a single Asian industry outside of telecommunications, a sign that the market for financial stocks in the region has become deep enough for hedge funds to ply, said one of the people. The five-year average annual trading volume of the MSCI Asia-Pacific Financials Index, which tracks 228 banks, insurers, securities and property companies in the region, was twice that in the previous five years.

Monaco helped Steve Eisman manage the FrontPoint Financial Services Fund in New York, according to a January 2007 report by Hong Kong-based trade journal Finance Asia and biographical information posted on the website of Hong Kong-based independent research company Forensic Asia Ltd., his current employer.

Focusing Financials

The financial services fund was the larger of the two managed by Eisman, who oversaw more than $1 billion at FrontPoint by 2010. FrontPoint, the Greenwich, Connecticut-based hedge fund company overseeing $7.5 billion by early November 2011, closed last year after allegations of insider trading by a co-manager of its health-care fund led investors to pull money.

Monaco was a director of research and headed the Pan Asia financial institutions research team at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong from July 2011 through January this year, according to the Forensic Asia biography and registration records with the city’s Securities and Futures Commission.

He joined Forensic Asia as managing director in February, according to regulatory licensing records. The research company is owned by Jim Walker, ex-chief economist of CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, the brokerage unit that Credit Agricole SA is selling to China’s Citic Securities Co.

Earlier in his career, Monaco worked as a senior bank examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and as an analyst in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo, according to the Forensic Asia website.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.