Harbinger's Director Of Investments Lawrence Clark Is Leaving Falcone's Firm To Start His Own Hedge Fund

lawrence clark harbingerLawrence Clark Jr.

Lawrence M. Clark Jr., director of investments at Phil Falcone’s Harbinger Capital, resigned on Friday.He’s launching his own hedge fund, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Clark joined Harbinger in 2002 and was made a partner three years later. He obviously had a good run, and rewarded himself with a $11.6 million West Village townhouse in 2008.

Clark oversaw metals, mining, industrials and retail investments for Falcone – all investment areas that Harbinger has significantly pared down as it funnels half of its assets into longer-term bets like satellite-wireless communications.

Clark wants to launch his fund in the next six months, and told the WSJ that the move is “entirely about what’s right for me and reflects in no way on Phil or Harbinger.” The new firm is yet to be named and will use an “event-driven” strategy to invest.

Falcone thanked his Clark in a note to investors:

I am very supportive of Larry’s decision and also very happy for him. I have no doubt that he will have continued success and I am confident that we will maintain our close relationship as he travels down this new path.

While other hedge funders are making up any losses suffered through the financial crisis, it hasn’t been mellow times for Harbinger; AUM fell from $26 billion in 2008 to $6.4 billion in November last year; investors have fled; and the SEC has been poking around the firm too in connection to allegations of preferential treatment for some clients, and for Falcone himself.

These are all factors that might spur an exec to pack their bags. But even without the external pressures, the firm’s major investment realignment and the resulting reduction in the demand for someone like Clark’s expertise must have influenced his decision to go solo.

Before Harbinger, Clark was a Distressed Debt master. He was an analyst in the Distressed Debt and Special Situations Research group at Satellite Asset Management and he was a VP in the Distressed Debt and High Yield Research Department at Lazard. Before that worked for Credit Suisse First Boston’s High Yield Research Group as an asssociate.

His first investment gig was as a Junior Analyst in the Corporate Bond Research Department of Salomon Brothers. He also worked for Prudential, and is a Stern Business school grad.

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