The Power of Names

Names convey information, whether we want them to or not. See a resume from somebody named Thurston Charles Dockery III and you can bet he owns a few hundred pairs of Sperrys and uses summer as a verb. So if you’re going to start a hedge fund, you want to choose a moniker that suggests to your potential investors something like, “hey, your money will be safe with us. We will not piss it away.”* A sort of studied blandness seems to be crucial here and, luckily, just the other day one of our avid readers passed on a tool exquisitely designed precisely for hedge fund name creation. We decided to take it for a test run, so here are the first three names it spit out, accompanied by a brief description of the type of fund they conjure up:

Fall Hill Funds
This fund was started by two graduates of BC’s Carroll School of Management, Andrew Powell and Anil Chatterjee. Andrew played football at Connecticut College and spent a few years in institutional sales at Putnam. Anil has already founded three companies and considers himself an expert in the tech space. Andrew didn’t like his job prospects after graduating and figured it wouldn’t be too hard to raise money from his prep school friends’ parents; Anil wanted another entrepreneurial challenge and needed Andrew’s money. They thought the palindromical pronunciation pattern was a selling point, but it just makes them sound unprofessional.

Liquid Road Advisors
Peter Hsu started Liquid Road after 10 years with some of the most influential names in finance. Following two years as an investment banking analyst in Goldman’s energy group and another two at HBS, he spent eight years at Bain Capital, focusing on energy-related transactions in Central Asia. Liquid Road concentrates on energy investments in Eurasia spanning a range of asset classes and draws its name from oil’s liquid gold moniker and its prominent presence along the route of the old silk road.

First Brook Advisors
First Brook are an intensely anonymous fund. Their website is a flash-based image of a babbling brook, and there is a login portal for clients in the top right of the screen. There is an address listed across the bottom for a suite in midtown Manhattan, but no phone number. If you plug the name in quotation marks into Google a Bloomberg Businessweek listing for the fund appears which lists a Mr. David Lindholm as the Chief Executive Officer. Mr. David Lindholm is not on LinkedIn and searches for his name, even in quotation marks, yield nothing useful. This firm obviously manages Gulf-state petrodollars.

*A quick scan of Google Scholar turns up no studies of the impact of a hedge fund’s name in growing AUM, all else equal. But how great would it be if it turned out that, say, funds with animals in the name routinely had more assets under management than those without, if you control for past performance, etc.