If market chatter is indicative of reality, then Brevan Howard’s Ben Melkman has already set up his own soon-to-be incredibly successful macro fund and is competing with the likes of Edward Eisler and Chris Rokos for talent.
Market chatter is not reality though, and for the moment Melkman is still at Brevan Howard – despite an upswell in enthusiasm for him to break out and go it alone.
“There is tremendous appetite to give Ben capital,” said one senior sell-side source (speaking anonymously) who works with hedge funds. “Ben would be a fresh new face with a strong and aggressive track record in an industry that needs performance, energy and hope. Fund of funds think Ben is the prototype for the next generation of macro hedge funds.”
Melkman didn’t respond to our requests to contact him, so we don’t know how he feels about his fans or whether he is indeed about to set up his own fund. When we called Brevan Howard, he wasn’t in the office and is seemingly out until next week. Brevan Howard declined to comment on Melkman’s status, but we understand that Melkman remains an employee.
The speculation/excitement about Melkman (‘Melks’) moves, or not, follows this week’s revelation that Brevan Howard is closing the dedicated Argentina fund that he worked on. The fund was opened to outside investors in January 2015 and produced net returns of 18% before its closure. Brevan Howard said this closure was always intended: “We launched the fund as a limited-life SPV to position in front of the Argentine elections in order to take advantage of anticipated political change and a subsequent resolution of the bond hold-out dispute.”
Melkman joined Brevan Howard from Morgan Stanley’s London office in 2009. He spent five years at the US bank after beginning his career at Deutsche in June 2003. Rokos, another star trader from Brevan Howard set up his own fund in London last year, his most recent hire being Derek O’Brien who joined from Jefferies last month.