How to become a top young hedge fund star before you're 40

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Financial News has produced a list of the top young hedge fund stars under 40.

It's the sort of thing you should read carefully if you want to avoid career derailment by age 45.

If you are working so hard to avoid derailment that you don't have time to study this list in detail, we have pulled out the common features of the top young managers and we have listed them below. Some are congenital; others are not: if you start working on them now, it may not be too late.

1) Be a man

There are 40 people on the a list. Four of them are women.

They are: Daniele Benatoff, co-founder of Benross Capital; Charlotte Burkeman, co-head of European prime brokerage at BAML; Anne-Sophie D'Andlau, co-founder and deputy chief executive of newly-launched Paris-based merger arbitrage boutique CIAM. And Emily Porter, a portfolio manager, absolute return strategies at the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

Conclusion: there are top women under 40 in hedge funds, but not many.

2) Spend some time at Goldman Sachs

There are 40 people on the list. Seven of them used to work at Goldman Sachs. They are: Daniele Benatoff, Co-founder, Benros Capital; Jeff Blumberg, chief executive, Egerton Capital; Charlotte Burkeman, co-head of European prime brokerage, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Leonard Charlton, Portfolio manager, Dalton Strategic Partnership; Ali Hedayat

Partner, Edoma Partners; Ariel Roskis, Co-founder, Benros Capital; Edgar Senior, global co-head of capital services, Credit Suisse.

Conclusion: in a world where credibility is everything, having Goldman Sachs on your CV probably helps.

3) Be French

Of 40 people on the list, approximately 8 are French (one may be Swiss). This seems to be saying something.

Conclusion: Try going to a French Grande Ecole.

4) Aspire initially to do something completely different to hedge fund management

Only one person in the 40 person list started life with a burning desire to do something financial. This was Ross Turner, founder of Pelham Capital, whose childhood ambition was to, 'work in anything to do with the stockmarket."

Among the others: Shamez Alibhai of Cheyne Capital really wanted to be a Jedi; Reza Amiri

Founder, Susa Fund Management wanted to be a fighter pilot; Geoff Bamber

Chief investment officer, Skyline Capital, wanted to be a professional skier; Alexander Ivanovitch, managing partner, The Environmental Investment Partnership, wanted to be rockstar and still harbours this ambition for when he retires; Dominic Freemantle, 35-year old head of European prime brokerage sales and capital introductions at Morgan Stanley, wanted briefly to be a geologist and still thinks it may be possible to make it into the England football squad one day; Lionel Melka, Founder and head of research, Bernheim, Dreyfus & Co, wants to make independent movies and win the Palme D'Or; and Emily Porter, Portfolio manager, absolute return strategies, Universities Superannuation Scheme, 'always dreamed of becoming a sailing instructor somewhere exotic, but instead went into hedge fund investing. '

Conclusion: Even top hedge fund stars don't start out wanting to work in hedge funds.

5) Be good friends with powerful men

It helps to have a powerful male mentor/role model.

Hence, Robert Sorrell, founder of Sorrell Capital, has his father, Sir Martin Sorrell. Jamie Allsopp Portfolio manager, Insparo Asset Management, was one of John Duffield's protégés; Leonard Charlton said Gary Williams, former head of equity trading at Goldman Sachs made a 'significant impact on his professional life;' Jean-Francois Comte, co-president at Lutetia Capital, says he was mentored by Lazard's deputy chairman Jeffrey Rosen; Alex Vaskevitch, fund manager, BCM & Partners, had an influential father who was a senior M&A banker; and Dominic Freemantle, who moved into his former boss Marty Byman's job this year says Byman has been the 'biggest influence in his working life.'

Conclusion: Find someone powerful who likes you; stick to them.

6) Engage in high level sporting activities

It probably helps to be conspicuously sporty. Geoff Bamber, CIO at Skyline Capital has done the Ironman championships in Hawaii, someone else was a professional surfer, and there's Freemantle who's fancies himself as a professional footballer.

As a counterweight, however, Jean-François Comte has decorated his offices with his own abstract paintings, and Henrik Molin, head of development at Frey Quantitative Strategies has written four financial thrillers.

Conclusion: Not all hedge fund managers are sedentary market-obsessives.

7) Generate exceptional returns

Self-evidently, extraordinary returns are key to becoming a hedge fund star. For example, Shamez Alibhai co-manages a fund that was up more than 7% in the first three months of this year; Leonard Charlton manages a fund that has gained 35.6% since October 2006, and Pedro de Noronha - the ex-surfer - manages a fund that gained 19% last year.

Conclusion: If you can do this, you can probably be a female Briton who's previously worked at KPMG.

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