Millennium Capital Management lost one of its top London portfolio managers

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Neil Smith Millennium

People keep leaving hedge fund Millennium Management (AKA Millennium Capital Partners in the UK). The latest to disappear is a 38 year-London portfolio manager who'd been there since 2012.

Insiders say that Neil Smith a top relative value trader who previously spent six years with RBS in London and New York, resigned on Monday. His destination is unclear. Millennium declined to comment.

The suspicion, naturally, is that Smith is off to join former Millennium trader Michael Gelband at ExodusPoint, the new $8bn hedge fund which has been hoovering people up from across the market. ExodusPoint, which already has over 125 employees - mostly in New York - opened a London office in April 2018.  In New York, Gelband has been hiring various of his former Millennium colleagues amidst rumours of exceptionally generous multi-year pay packages. In London, however, headhunters working for ExodusPoint say Gelband is inhibited from hiring his ex-colleagues by a restrictive covenant, and that while the packages on offer may involve accelerated vesting of past bonuses, multi-year guarantees are not on the table. Nonetheless, ExodusPoint is understood to be Smith's intended destination.

Smith isn't the only trader to have left Millennium this year. Since January, six traders have left for Albar Capital, a long short equity hedge fund set up by Javier Velazquez, another ex-Millennium portfolio manager. Albar is backed by Millennium, however, while ExodusPoint is not. Like many other hedge funds, Millennium also has a reputation for ruthlessness with under-performing staff. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) indicates that at least eight people have left since the start of the year without other jobs to go to.

The most recent accounts for Millennium Capital Partners LLP in London indicate that the fund made a profit of £105m ($139m) for the year to December 2017, up from £94m a year earlier. The highest paid partner earned £7m, while the other 11 partners were paid £1.1m each, down from £1.4m the previous year.

Smith isn't the only hedge fund PM on the move. David Curtin, who left BlueCrest in May, is understood to be joining Graham Capital soon.

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