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May 25, 2016  

Fortress Alum Encounters Setback

Ocean Peak Capital has missed its targeted launch date.

Founder Jared Cohen had aimed to start trading through the Santa Monica, Calif., distressed-debt shop in March with $150 million — including backing from partners at former employer Fortress Investment. Bloomberg named Fortress co-founder Peter Briger as being among them.

The firm remains in marketing mode, with industry participants suggesting that the Fortress partners’ pledges are contingent on the shop’s ability to win other backers. Sources described the slower-than-expected progress as resulting from broad financial-market unease.

While startup fund managers in general face a difficult capital-raising environment, it would be surprising for Cohen to have trouble attracting investors given his Fortress pedigree. He initially was assigned to the firm’s now-defunct Fortress Macro Fund starting in 2006, then moved into a partnership role in its corporate-securities group, where he concentrated on event-driven and distressed-debt plays for various credit-focused hedge funds.

Increasing market volatility also was expected to help Cohen’s pitch to investors. “I believe we are in an ‘inflection zone’ following dual peaks in both the credit and corporate-profit cycles,” Cohen wrote in a January letter to prospective limited partners in which he claimed to have lined up day-one investments from some of his former Fortress colleagues.

Cohen left Fortress a year ago to begin work on Ocean Peak.

Also on board at Ocean Peak is Adam Weiss, who oversees operations, compliance and marketing. Weiss most recently was working as a consultant. Earlier, he headed operations at Scottwood Capital, an event-driven debt shop that unwound in 2011.

On the investment side is senior analyst Evan Glucoft, formerly of Alden Global Capital.