Omeed Malik, a former Bank of America prime-brokerage executive who is widely known in the hedge fund industry, has started a merchant bank to invest in early-stage businesses and alternative-investment funds.
Malik formed Farvahar Partners in January with partner Joe Voboril, who previously worked under Malik at BofA. The New York firm will invest proprietary capital in consumer-oriented technology companies, niche-focused hedge funds and private equity vehicles, then help those entities raise additional money from other investors.
Malik and Voboril have capitalized the business in part with the proceeds of legal settlements each of them won last year from BofA after filing wrongful-termination claims with Finra. Malik, who headed prime-brokerage sales, capital introduction and hedge fund consulting at BofA, was dismissed in January 2018 for reasons he sharply disputed. BofA agreed to settle Malik’s wrongful-termination case for a reported eight-figure payment.
BofA dismissed Voboril in February, allegedly for interfering in Malik’s case. He, too, vigorously contested the allegations and subsequently won a seven-figure settlement, according to a source familiar with the case.
Farvahar appears to have millions of dollars to invest, and Malik isn’t seeking to raise outside capital for his business. The firm, which has begun operating under a broker-dealer license it obtained in January, already has inked a few deals with technology companies.
When it comes to raising third-party capital for the businesses Farvahar invests in, Malik plans to draw on an extensive network of industry contacts he developed during six years at BofA and, before that, at MF Global. In particular, he sees an opportunity to raise capital from hedge fund managers who want to boost the returns of their stock portfolios.
At the same time, Malik and Voboril are looking to take limited-partnership stakes in alternative-investment funds, with a focus on private equity vehicles and niche hedge fund strategies. They would also help the fund managers market their vehicles, in part by tapping a wide network of investors they worked with at BofA.
Malik oversaw dozens of staffers within BofA’s prime-brokerage group, including all client-facing positions, making him one of the highest-profile executives in the field. He even made a cameo appearance on the hit HBO series “Billions.”
At the start of 2018, Malik reportedly was making plans to leave BofA and launch his own hedge fund-consulting business when the bank fired him for alleged inappropriate conduct with a female employee. Lawyers for both Malik and Voboril said they were dismissed in retaliation for complaining that the bank’s head of prime brokerage, Martina Slowey, lacked the Finra licenses required to occupy her post. Malik, who is of Iranian descent, also accused the bank of discrimination. He sued BofA for more than $100 million. Voboril sued for more than $20 million.
BofA has denied the allegations and said it acted appropriately. Malik and Voboril declined to comment.
Before joining BofA, Malik aided in former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s ill-fated effort to turn MF Global into a trading powerhouse. Malik previously worked as a corporate lawyer at Latham & Watkins and Weil Gotshal.
While Malik’s Wall Street experience is more on the business-development side, Voboril has held investment roles at a number of buy-side shops. Before starting at BofA in 2015, he worked as a portfolio manager or analyst at firms including Post Street Capital, Kingsford Capital, Suttonbrook Capital and Thales Capital.