One of Citigroup’s most senior algorithmic traders, who left the bank in July after more than nine years in various quantitative trading roles, has just re-emerged at BlackRock.
Rajesh Nagella joined BlackRock in New York as a managing director earlier this month. He left Citigroup in July, having joined in May 2008, and held various senior roles at the bank including EMEA head of algorithmic products, head of algo products for the U.S. and head of its Americas execution platform. Reports suggested that Nagella was also global head of cash equities last year, but Citi insiders told us at the time of his departure that his focus was more on the quantitative side of the business.
Nagella’s arrival at BlackRock comes at a time when the world’s largest asset manager is revamping its equities business and focusing more on computer-driven stock-picking. It announced in March that it would be cutting jobs from its actively managed equities business and investing more in high-tech solutions to its stockpicking unit, allocating $30bn to a new initiative focused on quantitative and data science.
Nonetheless, senior quants and electronic trading staff have been departing. Michael Lemmon, a senior researcher within BlackRock’s quantitative Scientific Active Equity unit left in July for Citadel, and we also understand that Paulo Rodela, a managing director in BlackRock’s solutions business, left in September to join Ken Griffin’s hedge fund as a managing director in a senior technology role. Meanwhile, in London, Scott Cowling, head of electronic trading and market structure for EMEA at BlackRock, joined BlueCrest Capital Management.
Nagella’s departure was said to be down to the growing influence of Murray Roos, who joined Citi from Deutsche Bank in December 2015 as co-head of global equities alongside Dan Keegan. Over the past 18 months, various senior equities sales and trading staff have departed and been hired in Citigroup’s equities team Roos said recently in an interview with Financial News that it still has plans to grow. Citi’s equities revenues were up by 16% in the third quarter of 2017, when most other investment banks were flat on the previous year.
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