Topturn Capital

Why this hedge fund became the first to advertise

December 3, 2013: 3:30 PM ET

Hedge fund manager Topturn Capital creates a surf-inspired video ad.

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FORTUNE -- Topturn Capital has become the first hedge fund manager to create and publish a public advertisement for its services, more than two months after the SEC lifted its decades-old ban on general solicitation.

The ad, first noticed by Buzzfeed, focuses on the similarities between a "top turn" surfing maneuver and the Monterey, Calif.-based firm's proprietary investment strategy, which includes equities, commodities, fixed income and currency. To drive home the point, Topturn hired pro surfer Joe Curren to appear in a speaking role.

"So much material for hedge funds looks exactly the same, and [registered investment advisors] are inundated with it," says Dan Darchuck, Topturn's co-founder and CEO. "So we had interest in doing something different, and some marketing people guided us to do a video."

Topturn has posted the video on its website, in the hopes of generating new client interest. It also has sent a copy out to both existing and prospective investors.

RELATED: Hedge funds can now advertise. What it really means.

One thing the video doesn't discuss is Topturn's investment performance, which Darchuck says was a conscious decision. "We wanted to convey how we think about investing, and if people are interested we will then provide all of the data they need."

Through last October, Topturn reported just over $100 million in assets under management on behalf of 201 clients. Around $72 million of that was discretionary.

It will be interesting to see if Topturn's ad gambit pays off in terms of new investors, since that would be what could prompt other hedge fund managers to follow suit. In general, the new general solicitation rules have mostly been leveraged by startups seeing seed and early-stage capital. One venture capital firm also began generally soliciting last month, but so far has not been followed.

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