Bluecrest and Moore Capital cut heads and pay after a tough year

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Now is a precarious time to work for a large hedge fund. Both Bluecrest Capital Management and Moore Capital Management, run by billionaires Louis Bacon and Michael Platt respectively, have been chopping money management staff and curtailing compensation over the past year.

UK hedge funds are usually private companies and typically file at least two sets of accounts - one for the LLP, which includes senior partners of the firm, and others that cover the broader company housing its rank and file employees. Both Bluecrest Capital Management, the family office run by Michael Platt, and the $13.4bn hedge fund Moore Capital Management have filed their 2016 reports for both entities today.

Bluecrest said that it had cut headcount at the broader company by 21% over the course of the year – or 89 people - and global employee numbers are now 337. Moore Capital Management, meanwhile said that it had reduced overall employee numbers from 105 to 101 last year. However, this concealed an increase in the number of people in admin and research functions and 28% cut in portfolio managers, who were reduced by 10 people.

While both funds have been cutting employees at their broader companies, senior staff numbers at the LLPs have remained relatively sheltered. Bluecrest cut just two partners last year (and now has 85). Moore also cut two senior staff (down to 23).

Bluecrest's UK LLP has, however, been (a lot) more successful than Moore's. It made a profit of £95m in 2016, up from £53.4m in 2015. Bluecrest has been paying its senior management accordingly. It shelled out £96.7m to its members last year, an increase of 27% on 2015.

Moore Capital's European partnership, meanwhile, made a profit of £41.1m last year, down from £57.5m on 2015. Reflecting this, it has been cutting pay for partners: in 2015, it paid them an average of £2.4m; in 2016, this was down to £1.6m.

The under-performing Moore has also cut pay for the rank and file at its broader company: there average pay per head for its employees fell from £447.6k in 2015 to £356.4k last year. By comparison, employees who survived the job at Bluecrest were in luck; their pay averaged £357k last year, compared to £262k in 2015.

More recently, neither fund has been exactly thriving. Moore was said to cut around 30 jobs across New York and London this July. Bluecrest, meanwhile, has kept UK headcount relatively consistent through 2017, but senior staff have been leaving. Christian Dalban, Nomura’s former head of equities trading who joined Bluecrest to build a London equities team of around 12 people, left in June. Derek Flynn, it’s head of equity execution trading also left in late September. Meanwhile, Eric Childs, a portfolio manager in rates and FX, returned to banking to join Barclays as head of US dollar swaps trading last month.

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Image: Getty Images

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