As alluring as it appears, quitting investment banking for a hedge fund can be a perilous affair. Two thirds of all hedge funds ever to exist have closed, and even well-established firms can quickly trim, flounder or fail when times get tough.
Decura Investment Management was supposed to be different. The brain-child of former Goldman Sachs partner Vishal Gupta and head of equities strategies, Jay Dweck, it hired traders, quants, techies and even back office staff from Goldman Sachs and other top investment banks across London.
More of a ‘managed hedge fund account platform’ that allowed investors access to a pool of managers, Decura nonetheless came unstuck earlier this year during a legal dispute with UBS. It tried to sue the Swiss bank for $167m, claiming that the restructuring of its investment bank undermined a joint venture. Decura lost.
Six months on, it’s worth questioning whether those who gambled on a move to Decura have shot themselves in the foot when it comes to their career. The general answer would appear to be no – here’s where they’re ending up.
Peter Hartley, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs who left to head up Decura’s quantitative analytics division, has returned to his former employer and he’s not the only one to be hired into Goldman.
Andrei Maxim, a quant analyst who moved to Decura from Morgan Stanley, has been hired as an executive director on equity strategies at Goldman, while Bryn Thompson-Clarke – a partner and derivatives trader at the firm – also joined the U.S. bank as an executive director having previously worked at J.P. Morgan.
In line with its new build out in London, Brevan Howard has taken the opportunity to hire some former Decura traders. Rajesh Amin, a former Goldman Sachs trader, joined in May along with Mattias Frank who was a quantitative analyst on systematic trading platform at Decura.
Bin Ren, who was a partner and portfolio manager on a systematic trading platform at Decura has also just joined Brevan Howard’s trading desk.
Reassuringly, moving to the buy-side is not necessarily a one-way trip, a lot of former traders at Decura have returned to investment banking.
Neil Staff, a partner at Decura and former head of equity exotics trading at Barclays, is now head of equity structured trading at Credit Suisse. Chris Millar, who was head of operations and former co-head of global structured product operations at Goldman, has been hired by Royal Bank of Scotland as global head of transaction control.
Meanwhile, Romain Benvenuto, a portfolio manager in Decura’s systematic trading team, has been hired by HSBC on their equity derivatives desk.
If the ultimate aim was to stick in a buy-side role, it’s worked for some. Marco Corsi, a director at Barclays investment bank who joined Decura as a portfolio manager, has now secured a role at Blackrock.
Meanwhile, Sonia Bhasin-Woods, who was general counsel and head of compliance at Decura having moved across from UBS, now holds the same position at hedge fund RiverRock Capital Partners.
Eugenie Dadachpour, who was a platform specialist have moved across from Lyxor Asset Management, is now head of marketing at hedge fund Fenician Capital Management and Cliodhna Murphy who moved to Decura from Goldman Sachs as head of its funds platform, now leads investor operations at Man Group.
A couple of brave soles have decided to launch their own ventures. Charlotte Ransom, who was an executive partner and formerly at partner at Goldman, has started an as-yet-unnamed fintech start-up, while Kim Johannessen, Decura’s CTO, is running his own firm, KNX Associates.