Deutsche’s ‘super start-up’ hedge fund bolsters pay and headcount

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Arrowgrass Capital Partners, the $4.5bn hedge fund spun out from Deutsche Bank’s convertible bond franchise at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, has nearly doubled pay for its partners over the past year and has been adding headcount.

The hedge fund posted revenues of £64.7m for 2013, according to accounts recently submitted to Companies House in the UK, compared to £42.3m for the previous year. However, income divided between its partners was £43.9m last year, compared to £23.8m in 2012.

The highest paid member received £15.3m last year, compared to £9.8m in 2012 and the 12 partners received an average of £3.6m each on a per head basis. However, Arrowgrass’ partners include Deutsche Bank and a whole host of subsidiary companies as well as six individuals, so the real pay figures are likely to be substantially lower than this for its senior staff.

Nonetheless, Arrowgrass has been investing in its employees throughout 2013. The amount of money spent on staff increased to £27.8m last year, up from £21m in 2012, and it has boosted headcount by seven to reach 80 people in the UK – not an insignificant investment for a hedge fund with a total staff base of around 100 across the UK and US.

This means that average pay per head for its rank and file employees in 2013 was £347.5k, an uplift from £287.6k during the previous year. As well as salaries and bonuses, Arrowgrass also runs a long-term remuneration deferral plan, under which there is currently £12.7m in obligations to be paid out in three tranches from March 2015.

Arrowgrass grew out of Deutsche Bank’s convertible bond franchise and in 2004 the team was renamed DB Omnis and moved on to its own proprietary platform. This was later spun out into a separate entity, with Deutsche Bank claiming a stand-alone firm would have more trading flexibility. It was dubbed a “super start-up” upon its launch in 2009, and managed to secure $2bn in investor money from the outset.

As we revealed earlier this year, Arrowgrass also lost senior partner Chris Wehbe in December 2013, who had been with the firm since 2009. He was head of relative value at the hedge fund, and retired from finance to return to academia, planning to study for a PhD at Oxford University.

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