Asia Specialist Wins Seed Deal From Mandel

A former partner at Eastern Advisors is prepping a hedge fund with backing from Lone Pine Capital chief Steve Mandel.

Peter Boodell, a top-performing equities analyst at Scott Booth's Eastern Advisors, has formed Boodell & Co. of New York with plans to launch an Asia-focused stock fund in the first quarter of 2011. Mandel has committed an unknown amount of seed capital to the vehicle, Boodell Value Capital.

Boodell's firm apparently is only the second hedge fund startup to receive seed money from Mandel, whose Greenwich, Conn., firm is among the largest U.S. hedge fund managers. The first was David Stemerman, a Lone Pine alumnus who started Conatus Capital in 2009 with $2.3 billion.

Boodell worked from 2005 to late 2009 at Eastern Advisors, an Asia-focused equities manager in New York that is backed by Julian Robertson's Tiger Management. Boodell analyzed Asian stocks in the media, gambling, natural-resources and retail sectors. During his stint at Eastern, the firm averaged $300 million under management. In 2007, the Eastern Advisors hedge fund gained 96% - making it the top-performing "Tiger cub" vehicle that year.

At Boodell & Co., early investors are being offered an economic interest in the firm, though it's unclear if that would take the form of an equity stake or a cut of revenues. Investors who pony up at least $5 million for two years would receive a perpetual interest in the business, with no sunset provision, and could get their investment back if the fund's performance drops 20%.

Boodell plans to dedicate half of his portfolio to Asian stocks and the other half to companies in the rest of the world. A big part of his focus will be offering investors downside protection in the event of another market debacle.

By some estimates, Boodell is poised to launch with at least $100 million. But some prospective investors see that figure as too ambitious, considering the number of former bank proprietary-trading teams entering the market these days with plans to start hedge funds.

Before joining Eastern Advisors, Boodell was co-head of the derivatives-trading group at boutique investment bank Robert Fleming & Co. His resume also includes several unconventional accomplishments for a hedge fund manager, including a stint in the Chicago Public Schools as a database manager; not one but two lunch dates with Warren Buffett; and backpacking with his wife for 18 months through 22 countries on $50 per day.

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