Slain Financier Thomas Gilbert Sr. Was Seeking Investors to Grow Hedge Fund

PHOTO: Thomas Gilbert is pictured attending the annual 2013 Hedge Fund Association conference in New York City.PlayKevin Kane
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The hedge fund manager who was fatally shot in his New York apartment was beginning to market to outside investors his small but growing fund that he started with his own money.

Thomas Gilbert Sr., whose son is being questioned about his death, started Wainscott Capital Partners in 2011. He and his team, which includes two biotech experts with Ph.D. degrees, were described as having a "conservative, diversified approach," reported hedge fund and private equity news website FINalternatives in November.

Gilbert, 70, had been optimistic about the future of biotechnology and he claimed that the fund had more than $15 million under management, FINalternatives editor Deirdre Brennan told ABC News.

Starting a fund with one's own money is "common for a smart, 70-year old who could retire but is too smart and too active to do so," Brennan told ABC News. Gilbert had been raising money for the fund, which was "doing well" by mid-November -- and why he was starting to market it to outside investors, she said.

"I didn't know him very well, but he was a really, really nice man," she said.

Before starting Wainscott, Gilbert co-founded Syzgy Therapeutics, which made private equity investments in the biotechnology industry. Before that, he founded and ran an online teacher-education provider called Knowledge Delivery Systems, of which he was still a director.

PHOTO: The homepage for Knowledge Delivery Systems, Inc. is pictured. kdsi.org
The homepage for Knowledge Delivery Systems, Inc. is pictured.

In August 2013, Wainscott Capital Partners had $5 million under management with investments in about 20 company names at a time, Hedge Fund Alert reported. By October 2014, the fund had grown to $7.3 million, Wainscott Capital reported to eVestment.

“For the next 10 years we really have the wind at our back," Gilbert told FINalternatives. "There is a continually expanding universe of companies that are executing, and the reason they are executing is that there have been some major breakthroughs in science. There are new drugs out there and new treatments for diseases.”

Returns had been "good" at Wainscott Capital, Peter Laurelli, eVestment's research vice president, told ABC News: 10.48 percent through November 2014, compared to 43.91 percent in 2013 and 27.21 percent in 2012.

“We’re not trying to beat all of the biotech funds, we’re basically trying to avoid drawdowns," Gilbert told FINalternatives.

A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Business School, he "spent 40 years on Wall Street with direct investing experience in the stock market, as well as private equity, real estate, and the fixed income market," according to his biography on Wainscott's website.