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Hedge fund manager laments death of "kindest and gentlest" analyst hired 14 months ago

It's often a feature of financial services careers that you encounter the same people at different employers. Matt Dratch, a macro portfolio manager at hedge fund ExodusPoint worked with Richard Rolnick twice: once when "Rollie" hired him from Morgan Stanley to work as an analyst at hedge fund Diamondback Capital in 2008, and once again when Dratch hired Rolnick to ExodusPoint in February 2023.

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The first time that Dratch worked with Rolnick, he was the analyst and Rolnick was the portfolio manager. The second time, their roles were reversed. 

"A month after I hired Rollie, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer," says Dratch, writing on social media.  "Richard came to me in the form of a boss but left me as a trusted mentor and best friend. The callousness of the capital markets has a way of showing you who your friends really are—the ones who are there for you when it doesn’t serve them."

Rolnick began his career as a Merrill Lynch analyst in 1990 and worked for JPMorgan and BNP Paribas in New York before becoming a prop trading MD at RBS until its ill-fated implosion in 2008. He then switched to hedge funds, and worked for Moore Capital and others until co-founding BTIG's leveraged finance desk in 2019 and moving to ExodusPoint in 2023. 

Dratch says Rolnick was suggesting trades right until the end of his illness and that when they lost a large chunk of profits soon after he joined, Rolnick either delayed treatments or logged in from his hospital bed. "We ended up beating the market in a thrilling fourth quarter comeback.  Yet, in a bitter twist of fate, we ultimately lost to cancer." 

Rolnick's memorial says he "was always the one working on the most interesting, often overlooked trades." He was known for a "unique sense of humor" and for "one-liners that would be quoted again and again by his colleagues weeks and even years later.

"Richard had a knack for putting great ideas forward without ever asking to take credit for them," the memorial adds.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Pi
    Pi
    7 April 2024

    I wonder who made him delay his cancer treatments.

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