Meriwether Set to Start New Hedge Fund on Dec. 1

Long-Term Capital Management's former honcho is getting ready to roll again -- with the support of Deutche Bank to boot.
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Long-Term Capital Management is just about long gone.

In its place,

John Meriwether

, LTCM's founder and legendary bond trader, is set to start

JWM Partners

on Dec. 1. So far, he has raised $300 million to $500 million and continues to seek more money, according to Peter Rosenthal, a spokesman for the old LTCM hedge fund, confirming news service reports.

Meriwether still must repay the $660 million LTCM owes the consortium of Wall Street banks that bailed out the hedge fund last fall. LTCM marked the one-year anniversary of that $3.6-billion rescue plan just this

past October.

Deutche Bank

is reportedly raising money for JWM Partners, even though the bank participated in the bailout last year. A Deutsche Bank spokesman declined to comment on whether the firm is acting as prime broker to Meriwether's new hedge fund or whether the bank has been paid back fully. JWM still "has a private placement offering going on. They're still raising money," Rosenthal says.

It's not known who new investors are in JWM Partners and in Meriwether's latest creation, although "smart money has been looking at it ever since last fall," says Hunt Taylor, senior vice president at hedge fund consultants

Tremont Advisers

. Last year, the billionaire financier

Warren Buffett

explored buying the fund's portfolio. New investors will pay a management fee of 2% plus 20% of any profit the fund makes -- a standard fee structure for hedge funds, which are largely unregulated investment pools that seek constant returns regardless of the direction of the broader market.

Old investors in LTCM, however, won't have to shell out the 20% performance fee until the fund recoups its previous loss. For example, assuming the loss is the remaining $660 million still owed to the consortium, JWM Partners will have to make more than 100% on its money in order to start receiving fees.

According to a

Bloomberg

report on Tuesday, JWM aims to produce returns of 15% a year, on average, using leverage of $12 to $18 for every dollar of capital.

In JWM Partners, Meriwether appears to want to project a slightly more transparent image. JWM approached Tremont about being included in a new index of 400 hedge funds created by the firm and

Credit Suisse First Boston

, according to a person at Tremont. The

CSFB Tremont Hedge Fund Index

, set to be introduced next week, would compile the regular performance figures of JWM and all other hedge funds, a departure from the secrecy of Meriwether's LTCM fund.

Like the old LTCM, Meriwether's new fund will be based in Greenwich, Conn. He has enlisted five old partners for the new JWM Partners: Eric Rosenfeld, Richard Leahy, Victor Haghani, Lawrence Hilibrand and Arjun Krishnamachar, according to Rosenthal, the LTCM spokesman.