| BOSTON, March 9
BOSTON, March 9 Hedge fund Electron Capital
Partners, which invests in global utilities and infrastructure
companies, has hired Eric Melloul as a partner from financial
services company TIAA, a person familiar with the move said on
Melloul, who joins the $610 million fund as its sixth
investment professional, was responsible for overseeing
portfolios with combined assets of $1.3 billion at TIAA.
Electron, an 11-year old hedge fund founded and run by Jos
Shaver, is attracting attention. Many large investors are
searching for assets not correlated to the broader stock market
or interest rate movements as the U.S. Federal Reserve is
signaling plans to raise borrowing costs, analysts said.
Electron's focus on utilities, which it believes will be
affected by significant changes in public policy, new
technologies and environmental regulation, are considered more
off-beat than bets many other hedge funds make on popular
technology or healthcare names.
At the end of the fourth quarter, Electron owned stakes in
U.S. utilities and telecommunications companies Exelon Corp
, Avangrid Inc and Dominion Resources Inc,
according to a regulatory filing. It also invests as much as
half of its capital abroad, in utility and infrastructure stocks
in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Electron's investments are rarely found on lists that tally
the companies most widely owned by hedge funds.
This could give the firm renewed traction with investors who
have recently complained that many managers tend to crowd into
the same names.
Electron gained 5.2 percent this year, while the HFRI Equity
Hedge (Total) Index rose 3.06 percent in January and February.
The fund lost roughly 3 percent last year, when most hedge
funds made money, and gained 18 percent in 2015, when most lost
Over its lifetime, Electron has posted an annualized return
of 10.4 percent, compared with a 4.4 percent gain for the HFRI
index and a 1.5 percent return of the MSCI World Utilities
Electron usually has 100 names in its portfolio, and a chunk
of its returns are generated by betting against a stock, or
For four years, Shaver and most of Electron's investing team
were part of Steve Cohen's SAC Capital and managed an average
SAC had been one of the industry's most successful funds,
but it pleaded guilty to insider trading in 2013 and has since
returned outside capital.
Electron spun out in 2012 and last year hired Winston Holt,
who previously worked at hedge fund Maverick Capital, to focus
on investor relations and business development.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)