BlueCrest said to be hiring bank prop traders for a new equities fund

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BlueCrest, Europe's most profitable hedge fund in 2012, is setting up a new equities fund according to people close to the matter. It also appears to be hiring.

BlueCrest declined to comment. Last week  Bloomberg reported that BlueCrest may have hired Jonathan Larkin and Christian Dalban, two former equity proprietary traders from Nomura. Bluecrest declined to comment on the hires, but people close to the firm said Dalban has already joined. We did not speak to Larkin or Dalban.

BlueCrest currently lacks an equities offering. As of Jan.1, 2013, the fund had $35.3bn under management, most of which was divided between two funds - BlueCrest International ($14.3bn), a fixed income macro fund, and BlueTrend, a systematic trading fund ($14.4bn). The remainder was spread between an emerging markets fund and BlueTrend, a fund of funds.

John Godden, chief executive of hedge fund advisory firm IGS, said it would make sense for BlueCrest to be set up an equities fund. "Everyone's expecting equities to do well this year and it's a strategy that a lot of hedge funds want to be attached to," he said.

Last October, it was reported that BlueCrest was overhauling the way some of its systematic trading funds worked after poor returns.

Barry Seath, chief executive of hedge fund-focused Mirage Recruitment, said several multi-billion dollar equities funds are hiring now and that recruitment activity is increasing. "There's hasn't been much happening in the equities space for quite some time, but that seems to be changing," Seath said.

Nomura cut five other proprietary traders from Dalman's team last September. Could they resurface at BlueCrest, too?

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