Now hiring: Head of hedge fund PR

Hedge funds changing the way they communicate

Most hedge funds have traditionally practiced a simple public relations strategy: "No comment."

But that reflexive reaction to publicity is gradually starting to change. The latest sign? More large hedge funds are hiring executives to run communications.

Recent examples include Lorie Coulombe, who joined $26 billion Davidson Kempner Capital Management as director of corporate communications in January; Kelly Howard, who was hired as senior vice president for marketing and communications for $18 billion Two Sigma Investments in February; Steven Vames, director of communications at $14.3 billion Pine River Capital Management since June; Michelle Tressel, who joined $6 billion Black River Asset Management in June as director of marketing, communications and client solutions; and Mogolodi Bond, who become $9 billion SAC Capital Advisors second in command for communications in June.

Those executives come from variety of sources, including global public relations agency Burson-Marsteller; investment firms The Clifton Group and Oak Hill Capital Partners, a private equity shop; and other financially oriented companies like electronic trading platform builder Tradeweb and investor communications-focused Broadridge.

The privilege of denying nosy journalists who request information is still usually outsourced to third party PR shops, or "strategic communications" firms such as Sard Verbinnen & Co., Abernathy MacGregor Group and Kekst & Co. And many of the larger hedge funds that have hired internal communications executives still use external firms, too, such as SAC and Pine River. Small hedge funds often can't afford or don't think they need professional help.

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