Hedge fund firm Lasair Capital winding down funds

BOSTON Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:50pm EDT

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Hedge fund firm Lasair Capital, which counted General Electric Co as its blue-chip backer and invested money for some large pension funds, said it plans to wind down its portfolios and return roughly $250 million to clients in the coming months.

New York-based Lasair was founded by Carrie McCabe as a women-owned firm in 2008 and specialized in investing with so-called long/short equity managers who select stocks.

"Lasair has considered a number of opportunities and decided this is the best course of action," McCabe said in a statement obtained by Reuters.

The firm, which will continue to exist, made inroads in the highly competitive investment world by signing up clients like the state of Illinois Teachers' Retirement System.

Counting both on McCabe's deep industry roots and the backing of General Electric's powerful asset management unit, the firm launched just before the height of the financial crisis, when many hedge fund managers were hit hard.

Since then it, like other small players in the $2 trillion hedge fund industry, has faced an uphill battle in raising new capital at a time many big-name investors prefer to stick with larger managers.

Lasair raised roughly $250 million in assets and those were invested with a handful of hedge fund managers whose funds range in size between $1 billion and $10 billion each. The managers have been informed of Lasair's decision to wind down the funds.

McCabe ranks among a small group of powerful women in the hedge fund world, having previously been the chief executive of Blackstone Alternative Asset Management and FRM-Americas.

(Reporting By Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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