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New options-based hedge fund Red Matter Management starts up in Lancaster County

Its name smacks of science fiction, but Red Matter Management Group LLC is real, and it’s out to make a big profit on what could happen — or what may never happen — on the S&P 500 stock index.

The Mount Joy-based company is general partner in Red Matter Alpha Fund LP, a new options-based hedge fund that bets on the ups and downs of the S&P index.

“Red Matter is not a real thing and carries no value,” said Isaac Lance Eisenhauer, co-founder and portfolio manager. The name references the assets Red Matter plans to trade in: options that have no independent value.

But it still takes real money to make money. The two-man company is on pace to attract $1.5 million by Oct. 1 from high-net-worth investors.

“It’s really just grinding it out and telling people about it,” Eisenhauer said of the company, which got its start this spring with a goal of attracting regional investors. “We’re just trying to prove ourselves and continue to raise money.”

‘More unique stance’

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A native of Philadelphia, Eisenhauer got his start in financial services in 2010, working for TD Ameritrade Inc. in Texas. There he met Tyson Collins, his partner in this new venture.

“Our whole strategy is based on quantitative analysis and high-probability trades,” said Eisenhauer, who later worked as an equity and equity options trader with WTS Proprietary Trading Group LLC in New York City before moving to the Harrisburg area in 2013 to work again for TD Ameritrade. “It’s not a guaranteed formula, but it’s a more unique stance to the market.”

Like private equity funds, hedge funds appeal to wealthy investors. However, the focus of hedge funds is on maximum short-term profits versus the longer-term positions of most private equity funds and venture capital. Hedge funds also invest in anything and everything, which can be riskier.

More on the name

The company’s Red Matter name is not a “Star Trek” movie reference.

However, both partners are science enthusiasts, said Isaac Lance Eisenhauer, co-founder and portfolio manager.

“Dark matter supposedly exists all around us,” he said. “Red Matter is a term that is not real and that is made up. The link between the two is that our strategy is based upon statistics and probabilities of earning a profit.

“Since we sell ‘out of the money options,’ they have no real intrinsic value,” he said. “So our strategy is to sell options that really carry no real value, only a made-up value of what could potentially happen.”

“We wanted to be different in the hedge fund world,” Eisenhauer said, explaining why the fund focuses on put-and-call options related to the S&P index rather than on individual stocks.

A call option is a security that gives the owner the right to buy shares of a stock or an index at a certain price, or strike price, by a certain date. A put option is a security that you buy when you think the price is going to go down. It gives you the right to sell at the strike price.

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