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Take inspiration: These five investment bankers are going it alone

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If you’re a trader hoping to get out of investment banking, breaking into a hedge fund is no easy task and the larger firms that are doing much of the recruiting tend to operate a ‘sink or swim’ mentality to surviving in the job. If you’re on the advisory side of the business and have made it to the senior ranks, if you are not operating an investment banking ‘kiosk’, you may be missing a trick.

Setting up your own firm is, of course, no easy task, but here are some senior investment banking employees who have just been given the go ahead from the Financial Conduct Authority for their new ventures.

1. Luigi Gatti Bonati and Mark Valentine: From BAML and Citi to their own family office, Flemyn LLP

 Flemyn LLP is the new venture of former Citi and BAML managing directors Mark Valentine and Luigi Gatti Bonati, who officially left at the end of April. Gatti was head of the Family Office Group at BAML, while Valentine, was a managing director in Citi’s multi-asset group.

The new venture is a London-based, real estate focused family office.

2. Marc Perusat: From head of private equity at Macquarie to M&A kiosk, Xpand Capital Partners

Marc Perusat is a big-hitting TMT investment banker, having held a senior position at Citi before moving to Macquarie, where he was was head of European communications infrastructure and private equity groups – a role he left after six years in April last year. His new venture Xpand Capital Partners – a corporate finance boutique offering advice to large and medium-sized firms, private equity firms and family offices across the UK and Western Europe – is authorised to do business. So far, Perusat is the sole employee, suggesting he has embraced the trend for investment banking ‘kiosks’.

3. Steven Behr: From top prop-trading job at RBS to interdealer broking (and then) Geneva Capital Partners

Steven Behr was one of a handful of senior traders investing Royal Bank of Scotland’s own money through its principal strategies group before it was wound down in 2009. He initially moved to interdealer broker Tradition and, according to the FCA register, also spent two years working for GFI Securities. Now, however, he’s emerged with his own venture, Geneva Capital Partners.

Behr was global head of the proprietary trading business at RBS and is now founding partner of Geneva Capital Partners, which will invest in asset-backed securities and corporate and high yield bonds in Europe when it launches. So far, Nikolay Zhukovsky, a former credit analyst at Standard Bank, UBS and JPMorgan, is the only other recruit.

4. Kerstin Rusch: From UBS managing director to CEO/COO of StoneFarm Capital

Launching in the second quarter, StoneFarm Capital is a UCITS fund with a focus on macro and emerging markets that was conceived by Rusch upon her exit from UBS in late 2013. Rusch was a managing director within the Swiss bank’s alternative investments division with a focus on the German market. The new venture is aimed at institutional investors like pension funds and insurance firms in Germany. Dominique Grichting, a former emerging markets trader at UBS, has also joined the venture.

5. Kim Miller: From mid-ranking investment banker to entrepreneur

Kim Miller was only in investment banking for three years, working in the industrials group at Macquarie, and left in 2010 to launch a range of new businesses that included an online pet products retailer and a physiotherapy operation. Now, however, he’s returned to the financial sector, getting FCA approval for J-Float – a consumer finance website that claims to allow people to manage their own insurance policies. He says he’s “Keen to move quickly, uncover interesting opportunities and enjoy myself in the process”.

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