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Ex-J.P. Morgan prop trading head still luring London hedge fund managers to sleepy Swiss town

Zug: The place to be?

Zug: The place to be?

In theory, the trend of hedge fund managers leaving London for sleepy towns like Zug in Switzerland, or even Zurich or Geneva, is over. Wives have rebelled against the lack of excitement and the lure of Mayfair has forced firms like Brevan Howard and Bluecrest Capital Management to relocate employees back to the City.

But the appeal of working for Argentière Capital, the hedge fund set up in 2013 by J.P. Morgan’s former global head of prop trading Deepak Gulati, has persuaded some senior traders and portfolio managers across to Switzerland.

Nikolay Aleksandrov, a trader at Bluecrest who has spent the last three years managing its multistrategy equity portfolio in London, has just signed up to Argentière as a portfolio manager in its Zug headquarters.

Meanwhile, Alexis Maubourguet, a portfolio manager looking after relative value opportunities at BTG Pactual in London, has also joined Argentière as a portfolio manager.

Argentière Capital was set up in 2013 by Gulati when J.P. Morgan closed its proprietary trading desk – it was the last bank to do so in London, following Dodd-Frank regulation which banned banks from trading with their own money. At the time, he also lifted a team of 20 people from J.P. Morgan, which might explain his decision to base the fund in Zug.

Since then, Argentière Capital has persuaded a small number of UK-based hedge fund managers across to Switzerland. This is despite the fact that Brevan Howard, which moved senior traders to Geneva in 2010 to escape tighter EU regulation on hedge funds, abandoned Switzerland and returned employees to London last year after traders reportedly “got bored”.

Zug is arguably a harder sell still. As one British hedge fund manager told us: “You don’t move to Zug for the excitement. It’s clean, efficient and everyone speaks English.”

Aleksandrov joined Bluecrest in 2013 and was part of a team of prop traders from Nomura to join the hedge fund when it closed the division. Before that, he was an equities trader at Morgan Stanley.

Maubourguet spent just a year at BTG before moving to Argentière. Before this, he was an director and equity derivatives trader at Deutsche Bank.

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