Lombard Odier Hires Institutional Fund Managers, Eyes U.S. Business

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Racing to rebuild an institutional business after a four-year hiatus, Geneva-based Lombard Odier has been hiring portfolio managers and group leaders from top hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds and investment consultants.

In the U.S., the firm is targeting market share gains in equity hedge fund strategies including global equities and emerging markets. Like many another mid-size institution, it sees opportunity in the large-scale career disruptions sparked by the financial crisis.

"We were able to hire high-quality people whom we couldn't have attracted two or three years ago," Stephane Monier, Lombard's global head of fixed income and currencies, told Pensions & Investments. "They had been very happy where they were. But (the financial crisis) has resulted in discontent, and they are more willing to listen to what we have to offer."

A key reason: Lombard Odier "is unlikely to merge or to be courted, and that provides a lot of stability," he says.

The revived institutional business has gained the most traction in fixed-income, primarily from European and Canadian customers. Fixed-income strategies account for $15 billion or 43 percent of its institutional assets. The firm aims to double that amount within three years.

Roots in Private Banking

Lombard is best known as Switzerland's oldest private wealth manager. It entered the instutional market in the 1970s but scaled back that business in 2005, only to ramp back up last year. In business since 1796, the entire firm has about $145 billion in assets under management.

Recent high-level include:

- Kevin Corrigan from Goldman Sachs Asset Management came aboard as head of credit.

- David Callahan, who was head of money markets at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, joined Lombard in 2009.

- Monier and Cyril Caillault came over from Fortis Investments. Monier was global head of fixed income and currencies at Fortis, while Caillault led the quantitative strategies team.

- Jeffrey Lubin from Cerberus European Capital Advisors joined Lombard as head of high-yield debt.

- Lodewijk van Pol, who led an investment consulting group at Towers Perrin, is Lombard's head of fiduciary management in Amsterdam.

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