Millennium Capital Partners, the New York-based hedge fund, has been doing a lot of hiring in London. Interestingly, it has also been pulling people out of investment banks.
One headhunter, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Millennium is one of several hedge funds that has engaged headhunters to help it source disaffected bank staff. The others are said to be Graham Capital Management - a macro quantitative hedge fund, BlueCrest, and Brevan Howard.
Millennium, Graham Capital and Brevan Howard declined to comment on their hiring intentions. We reported last week that Bluecrest has been hiring equity traders from Nomura for a new equities fund. We reported in February that senior traders had left Barclays, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, allegedly for the likes of BlueCrest and Brevan Howard.
However, it is Millennium that has done the most recruiting so far this year. The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) Register shows that Millennium has added 11 FSA registered people since December 2012, an increase of 17% in three months. Some of the new hires have come from rival hedge funds. Many have come from investment banks.
Millennium Capital's London business is headed by Yannis Vasatis, a former portfolio manager and head of risk management at Tarchon Capital Management. Vasatis joined Millennium in January 2011 with the express purpose of expanding Millennium's business in Europe. He declined to comment for the purposes of this article.
Millennium's hires in 2013 include Markus Meister - a former quant working on short term rates options at Deutsche Bank, Preben Ramm - formerly of UBS, Philip Cartlidge - a specialist in trading systems who's worked for Goldman Sachs and RBS, Zaki Dhabalia - who joined after a decade at Goldman Sachs, Asad Abedi - an ex-equities analyst from HSBC, Christopher Daniel - from ING Investment Management and Hugh Lee - also from Deutsche Bank.
Alongside ex-bank employees, Millennium has been hiring from rival hedge funds. So far this year, it's also brought on: Javier Velazquez and Carl Dickgiesser from GLG, Matthew Barnett from Citadel, and Oliver Haslam from Edoma Partners - the failed hedge fund founded by ex-Goldman trader Pierre-Henri Flamand.
One headhunter who told us he's working for Millennium said the fund hasn't finished hiring yet, but that any further recruitment will be, "selective." They're only really interested in ex-prop traders from banks and people with prior hedge fund experience, he added.
Hedge funds can be unwilling to recruit traders from banks because ex-bank traders are rarely able to prove how profitable they were personally. Investors are unwilling to take a risk on a trader without an audited track record and the failure of Edoma Partners last year confirmed suspicions that the path from banking to hedge funds is a difficult one. However, John Godden, head of hedge fund consultancy IGS Advisory services, said the tide may finally be turning. "Look at new funds like LindonGrove Capital [formed by ex-Nomura proprietary traders]," said Godden. "More and more funds are spinning out of banks. Investors like ex-traders from banks because they know they have ability," he said. Millennium appears to have reached the same conclusion.