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The small hedge fund quietly hiring from big banks

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Two years ago, when George Kounelakis departed Morgan Stanley to start event-driven hedge fund Ena Investment Capital, the plan was to hire more than 20 people.

This appears to have stalled. For much of its existence, Ena Investment Management has had just three employees listed the Financial Conduct Authority – Kounelakis himself, Mark Field-Marsham, who worked with him previously in Morgan Stanley’s principal investment group and Rafeal Garcia Arbej, a former Och-Ziff Capital Management managing director.

More recently, however, recruitment has stepped up and the hedge fund has been both poaching from investment banks and offering a considerable leap up the career ladder for those it hires.

One big hire is Keith Ackermann, who joined in July. Ackerman is a former managing director at both UBS in New York and Goldman Sachs in London. Despite joining Ena Investment Capital this year, he’s one of the founding partners.

Then there’s Hugo Villarroya, who joined as a partner and analyst in August. Three years ago he was an investment banking analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, before joining private equity firm Anchorage Capital as an associate analyst. At least in terms of job titles, this is a big improvement.

Similarly, Vikram Kumar was working as a vice president in Deutsche Bank’s credit trading business until he joined Ena Capital Management in September.

Considering the increased risk of joining a hedge fund start-up these days, it makes sense to try and become part of a partnership so you can gain a slice of the profits.

Ena also hired Andrew Wright, who joined as chief operating officer from Falcon Edge Capital in March.

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