Former Scout Partners Said to Start Long-Short Stock Firm

Jeffrey Helman and Jeffrey Hoffner, college friends and former colleagues at Scout Capital Management, are starting a stock-focused hedge fund firm called Engle Capital Management, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The New York-based firm’s debut fund will wager on and against stocks, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Engle, which is expected to begin trading in the second quarter, would be at least the fourth startup from alumni of Scout, the firm that oversaw $6.7 billion before its liquidation a year ago.

Helman declined to comment on the firm’s plans.

Equity hedge funds captured more than a third of net subscriptions into the $2.8 trillion industry last year, according to Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc. Investor appetite remained strong even as the long-short funds lost an average of 0.1 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 11 percent.

Helman and Hoffner met at the University of Pennsylvania, the person said, and worked together for 8 1/2 years at New York-based Scout, according to their profiles. Helman focused on telecommunications, media and technology, while Hoffner’s specialty was financial services. The pair joined in 2002, became the first employees to be made partners in 2007 and remained colleagues until Hoffner left in 2011.

Finance Chief

Helman stayed at Scout until it was disbanded. Hoffner was a money manager at First New York Securities until his departure last month, according to his LinkedIn profile. The pair hired Aili Areng, who had been chief financial officer for the now-defunct Wing Lake Capital, for the same role at Engle, the person said.

Scout Capital founders James Crichton and Adam Weiss decided to close the firm so that Weiss could step back from managing outside money, the pair wrote in an investor letter in January 2014.

Crichton opened the long-short equity hedge fund Hitchwood Capital Partners on July 1, and has since raised $1.7 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. Weiss cut short his retirement with plans to start Stillwater Investment Management, a firm that will trade equities, another person said.

Jamie Mendola, another former Scout partner, started a fund at San Francisco-based Pacific Grove Capital in the fourth quarter to invest in the shares and bonds of small and medium-size companies.

Spokesmen for the firms declined to comment on the new funds.