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Goldman Sachs keeps losing top traders to hedge funds

As managing director promotions approach at Goldman Sachs, some people at the firm aren't waiting around to see who's on the list. Especially, it seems, if they work on a rates desk.

In the past month, Michael Graham, a Goldman MD and head of emerging markets rates for Asia Pacific excluding Japan, joined Citadel as a portfolio manager. And Nishad Potdar a rising star G10 rates and FX trader joined BlueCrest. Both were based in London.

The exits follow numerous others from the rates desk earlier this year and in 2018, with BlueCrest a particular theme. Three Goldman traders joined BlueCrest in March this year: Dan Bitel, Goldman's head of European swaps trading, left to join BlueCrest despite only being promoted to MD in 2017. Anthony Rodriguez, a macro trader at Goldman in the U.S. joined BlueCrest around the same time, and Jaymal Nathwani, a former Goldman trader, joined the fund in Switzerland. 

This year's Goldman exodus to BlueCrest follows the departure of Simon Kingsbury, Goldman's ex-head of European interest-rate swaps trading, who left in March 2018 and arrived at BlueCrest four months' later. Graham's choice of Citadel comes at Pablo Salame, Goldman's co-head of securities, left to join the fund in October.

Junior traders have been complaining of a new approach at Goldman Sachs. As the firm focuses on developing stable streams of income from 'platform' businesses, volatile trading revenues have gone out of fashion. Insiders complain there's less interest in generating alpha and more of a focus on pure market making, meaning alpha-generating traders feel they're better off on the buy-side.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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