Johnson Taps Into Hedge Fund Of Funds

Billionaire and Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson has formed a new yet unnamed fund company with African American asset managers in mind.

Johnson says his new hedge fund venture with Deutsche Bank AG is designed to create opportunities and ensure that “African Americans have an opportunity to manage the wealth of this nation.”

The company, which is marketed to public and private pension funds and institutions, will operate, invest, manage, and allocate money to hedge funds of funds.

Hedge funds of funds “seek above-average returns while mitigating risks on the other end,” says Stephen T. Washington, managing director of Cleveland-based Black Wealth Network. Hedge funds of funds offer an infinite number of investment strategies, Washington says, adding that “a lot of pension funds utilize funds of funds.”

Right now, Washington says, “it’s a niche area where there aren’t a lot of African Americans. It’s an excellent move on Mr. Johnson’s part. It’s a big growth area.”

Johnson’s participation in this market “reflects the global impact that the African American community has,” Washington says. It’s been “these pension assets and other assets that many African Americans have helped contribute into.”

Since the capital from pension funds is used to develop communities, Washington says it’s vital that African Americans play a role in the process. Johnson agrees.

This deal, Johnson says, will hopefully start “breaking through this glass ceiling of no hedge funds of funds owned and controlled by African Americans.”