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Balyasny still looks like one of London's top paying hedge funds

Balyasny, one of the big global hedge funds, isn't having a great 2023. But, in London at least, 2022 was pretty fine.

The multi-strategy fund’s subsidiary in the city, Balyasny Europe Asset Management, has posted its results for last year, and the headline figures are… Pretty eye-catching.

Most notably, average pay at the fund increased from a very respectable £659k ($797k) in 2021 to an eye-watering £1m ($1.2m) in 2022 as its wage bill doubled. Just FYI, Balyasny was already the second-best paying (major) hedge fund in London.

The wage bill expansion was facilitated by a hefty increase in revenue, from £143m ($173m) in 2021 to £375m ($454m) in 2022. At the same time, the profit for the year available before discretionary division among members increased from £4.5m ($5.5m) to £22.8m ($27.6m). The fund also allocated £22m ($27m) of its profit to one of its "members", of which it has two (both separate corporate subsidiaries of Balyasny) and neither actual human beings.

While Balyasny boosted average London pay, it also did some heavy London hiring. Headcount in London went from 158 people in 2021 to 266 in 2022, an increase of 68%.  Globally, the fund has a team of “over 50 people” that facilitate the expansion of its suite of portfolio managers. And by our count, the fund is hiring prodigiously – it added some 50 people in macro alone last year. The indicators seem to point to that continuing into 2023, picking up people such as Gabriele Sarais as co-head of macro risk and risk advisory in London.

That doesn’t make Balyasny a one-way street, however. Global head of equities Jeff Runnfeldt is leaving the fund, per Bloomberg, with the fund having had a difficult summer – its 2% return in the year through to August is seriously behind peers such as Citadel and Millennium.

Balyasny's current focus is on hiring quants, and it’s moving away from its historic focus on long-short equity. As it said in a recent podcast, it’s “in the process of building out lots of quantitative strategies," as well as its commodities team. Quants seem a pretty good bet; London-based Winton Capital Management, a quant fund, had a similar pattern of success to Balyasny: increasing revenue nearly five-fold, and doubling its average pay.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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