Another senior Citigroup equities trader departs - this time for the buy-side

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BlueCrest Capital Management has continued its end-of-year raid on investment banks’ trading desks by hiring a senior equity derivatives trader from Citigroup in London.

Imran Lakha, who has spent the past four years as a senior index options trader at Citigroup, joined BlueCrest as a partner and portfolio manager in late November, according to new filings on Companies House.

Lakha is the former head of European index flow options trading at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He left the BAML in September 2011 and re-emerged 18 months later at Citigroup as a senior index options trader.

Lakha’s arrival at BlueCrest comes shortly after the departure of Emmanuel Kreutzberger, the former head of European index options and equity products at Commerzbank. Kreutzberger joined BlueCrest as a partner and portfolio manager in November last year, but left after just eight months in June and re-emerged at derivatives market maker Liquid Capital Group last month.

Lakha is BlueCrest’s third senior recruit from an investment bank in the past month. Philippe Haik, a senior short term interest rate trader at Nomura, joined in November, while Guillaume Rabate, the 28-year-old U.S. dollar interest rate trader at Morgan Stanley named in the Forbes 30 under 30 in finance list last year, joined as a portfolio manager. It also took on Scott Cowling, the former head of market structure and electronic trading at BlackRock, in September.

BlueCrest has also been losing senior staff this year, however. Christian Dalban, its head of equities who joined from Nomura in 2013, left in June, while Derek Flynn, its EMEA head of equity execution, departed shortly afterwards. Meanwhile, in the U.S., portfolio manager Eric Childs joined Barclays as head of U.S. dollar swaps trading.

For Citigroup, Lakha’s departure represents another change within its equity derivatives team this year. Robert Smolen joined the bank from J.P. Morgan in September as head of EMEA equity exotics and global hybrids trading, while Quentin Andre was promoted into the newly-created role of head of equities structuring for investor clients in March and Roberto Massacci was bumped up to head of EMEA single stocks exotics trading in July.

In the U.S., senior staff have been departing. Mark Chen, head of flow equity derivatives at Citigroup in New York, joined Deutsche Bank as co-head of equity derivatives for the Americas last month. He followed David Silber, previously head of North America execution sales at Citigroup, who joined as Deutsche as its other co-head of equity derivatives in June.

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