College Kid Hedge Fund Wants to Play with Your Money

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Though we applaud the go-getter-ness of these college kids who started their own hedge fund, we don't think we would trust them with our money. They just don't sound like they know things, as evidenced by this interview with Daily Intel's Kevin Roose. An excerpt:

We have a very unique niche. These markets, they’ve never been witnessed before. And because of our experience, we started observing these markets so young. Age serves a very strong, uh, what’s the word ... a very strong, uh, source of credibility. And I think these markets ... I’m sorry — I’m completely blanking. I think our age is very much considered, but it’s simply ... uh, I’m sorry, I’m completely blanking right now. 

That was Elliot Carol, the chairman of Lumina Investments LLC, "an independent, privately-owned investment management company ... focused on macro event-driven investing," as the site's about section explains. He is also a junior at UNC Wilmington's Cameron School of Business. Carol runs the firm with Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner Ryan Mahoney (also a student at UNC Wilimington) and Director of Investor Relations and Managing Partner Marcus Varsano (a student at East Carolina University), who you can meet in the video below.

These three have described what they do more eloquently than in their interview with Roose (like in this interview here and this one here), but there are a disconcerting number of other things that these guys don't seem to know. For one, the whole reason Roose got in contact with these gents was because they used a sarcastic line of his as a press endorsement for the company on their site. And, speaking of their website, that might not be legal, either. From Roose: 

I mentioned to Carol, in the spirit of helpfulness, that he should probably also ask his lawyer about the firm’s website — namely, whether it was legal. Current securities law prohibits hedge funds and other private investment companies from soliciting investors, which typically precludes advertising or any sort of widely distributed promotional materials.

Despite all this, the entrepreneurial young men believe they have an edge over their competitors because of their lack of experience. "I know I have a lot to learn. But we didn’t walk into these markets with 20 years, 40 years of preconceptions. We don’t know the market of the '90s. We don’t know the markets of the '80s. What we really know are these markets. And they’re unlike any others," Zachary P. Cefaratti, an unofficial employee, told Roose. Versano echoed that sentiment, saying in an interview with FINalternatives their post-financial crisis world view will help them.

That theory hasn't won too many people over. Carol told Roose the firm has "less than a million dollars” under management, mostly from friends and family." He expects that will "increase greatly," though. How 'bout it, are you convinced? 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.