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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kensington Alums Launch a Mutual Fund

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

Orinda Asset Management has entered the mutual fund space with the launch of the Orinda Multi-Manager Hedged Equity Fund. While the company is new -- it is less than 12 months old -- its key executives are veterans of the '40 Act industry.

Orinda, named after its home city in California, was formed in July of last year by four financial services industry veterans, three of whom were previously with Kensington Investment Group.

One of the four managing partners, Craig Kirkpatrick, was among the founding partners of Kensington in 1994. He left Kensington after Forward Management acquired Kensington Funds in 2009.

Orinda plans to offer four to five alternative mutual funds, Kirkpatrick said in an interview with The MFWire.com on Wednesday.

For its debut mutual fund product, Orinda picked SkyView Investment Advisors as the lead sub-advisor of the multi-manager fund. The other sub-advisers are Aria Partners GP, GRT Capital Partners, LLC, OMT Capital Management, LLC and M.A. Weatherbie & Co., Inc.

"This is one of a few funds that bring actual hedge fund managers into the '40 Act world," Kirkpatrick said.

Orinda hired U.S. Bancorp as the fund's transfer agent, Quasar Distributors LLC as the distributor, U.S. Bank as custodian, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP as legal counsel and Tait, Weller & Baker LLP as the independent registered public accounting firm.

The fund's net expenses are 295 basis points for A shares, 370 bps for C shares and 264 bps for I shares.

Orinda is gearing its sales efforts toward independent financial advisors and RIAs, with an initial focus on advisors with assets under advisement of more than $200 million.

Managing partner Brian Pawlowicz, who serves as director of capital markets, oversees the sales force, in addition to covering the Central region. Kevin Davis covers the Southeast and Bob McDermott is responsible for the Northeast. The three externals are supported by three internal wholesalers. Rounding out the capital markets group is Jonna Dondero, director of national account management.

According to Kirkpatrick, the company plans to hire an external wholesaler for the West Coast and "possibly add one other person" to the sales team.

Besides Kirkpatrick and Pawlowicz, Orinda's two other managing partners are chief financial officer Cynthia Yee, also a Kensington alum, and chief investment officer Larry Epstein, who hails from Cabezon Capital Markets.

Orinda has 15 employees. 

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