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Monday, October 18, 2010

A New Fund Family is Born in NYC

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

The MFWire.com reported in June that RiverPark Advisors was preparing its entrance into the mutual fund business. Now, the Manhattan-based firm, which is run by Baron Capital alums, has rolled out five of its six planned mutual funds. Two of the newly launched funds are managed in-house and the other three utilize sub-advisors:Wedgewood Partners, Gravity Capital Management and Cohanzick Management. [SEC filing]

Morty Schaja
RiverPark Advisors
Founder, CEO
"We are mutual fund veterans, we very much believe in the mutual fund industry," said RiverPark managing partner and CEO Morty Schaja, a former president and chief operating chief operating officer at Baron Capital who went on to start RiverPark, in an interview with The MFWire.com.

"If you look at what's happened over the last three, four, five years, a lot of branded competitors in the mutual fund world did not live up to implicit commitments they made to shareholders. I think we can do a better job for shareholders," Schaja said.

The five no-load offerings are:
  • RiverPark Large Cap Growth Fund
  • RiverPark/Wedgewood Fund
  • RiverPark Small Cap Growth
  • RiverPark Short Term High Yield Fund
  • RiverPark/Gravity Long-Biased Fund

  • The funds came into existence on October 1 and starting today became available through Charles Schwab's OneSource mutual fund marketplace. Schaja sees the funds getting on Fidelity's FundsNetwork platform in the next couple of weeks.

    "Our intention is to be in the major supermarkets," he said.

    For each fund, RiverPark is initially offering two share classes, retail and institutional. The firm has filed for C shares [SEC filing], but did not launch them yet.

    "There's no rush at all," Schaja said. "It's just an option in case."

    To promote the new products, "we'll be doing mailings and reaching out to people we know in the industry," Schaja said.

    RiverPark will have booths at the Schwab Impact Conference next week and the NAFPA Connections Conference the week after next.

    The company has also recently hired a PR firm, MacMillan Communications.

    Schaja started RiverPark in 2006. Other Baron alums that have joined River Park include chief investment officer and managing partner Mitch Rubin, chief marketing officer and partner Matt Kelly, principal and portfolio manager Conrad van Tienhoven and head trader Kristi Caruso.

    Last year, RiverPark became the primary sub-adviser to four active ETFs sponsored by Grail Advisors. The ETFs, marketed as the industry's first single-manager ETFs in the equity space using active management, were launched in October of last year. In August, two of the products -- RP Technology ETF and RP FInanical ETF -- were liquidated due to weak flows.

    RiverPark's newly launched line of mutual funds uses DST Systems as transfer agent, SEI Investments Global Fund Services as administrator, SEI Investments Distribution Co. as distributor, Brown Brothers Harriman as custodian, Blank Rome LLP as fund counsel and Cohen Fund Audit Services as independent registered public accounting firm.

    As for the sixth mutual fund RiverPark filed for in June, Schaja said the firm has not yet set a timeframe for the launch. 

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