Working for a hedge fund is not what it once was. With the industry going through a crisis, struggling to justify sky high fees and paying less than it used to, traders who once clamoured to move to the buy-side are switching back into banks, and funds are shutting down at the highest level since 2008 – with 1,057 hedge funds biting the dust last year, according to Hedge Fund Research.
In March, Eton Park Capital, the $7bn New York-based hedge fund run by former Goldman Sachs banker Eric Mindich, shut its doors due to a “combination of industry headwinds, a difficult market environment and, importantly, our own disappointing 2016 results”, according to letter to investors at the time. Mindich is returning capital to investors and turning the hedge fund into a family office. In London, Eton Park had 16 partners at the time of its closure and around 23 administration staff, who suddenly found themselves looking for new jobs. Now, some are landing in new locations.
Most notably, Pedro Maqueda, a partner and analyst at Eton Park Capital, has just joined the London operation of Citadel. Maqueda, who spent three years at Eton Park after joining from Centaurus Capital in 2014, has just signed up to Surveyor Capital, one of three equity businesses that manage capital within Citadel’s multi-strategy funds. He joined earlier this month as an analyst, a Citadel spokesperson confirmed.
When a high-profile hedge fund closes, portfolio managers often start out on their own venture or scatter across the industry to join new funds. Maqueda follows Allan Merrill, head of merger event driven funds at Eton Park, who joined Citadel’s Greenwich office in March. Institutional Investor reported his appointment and said that he would be bringing three Eton Park analysts with him.
Meanwhile Jan Huo, a partner derivatives trader at Eton Park who started at the hedge fund in 2008, has just joined Element Capital in a similar role. The New York-based hedge fund opened a London office in 2015, but so far has just eight employees. It’s expanding, however, and now reportedly has $12bn in assets under management after a $2bn capital raising round in March.
Other Eton Park partners to secure new roles this year include Stuart Houlton, who joined Trinity Street Asset Management as head of trading, and Ali Benzakour, who left Eton Park at the tail end of last year and joined GLG Partners as a portfolio manager in January.
The closure of Eton Park sent shockwaves through the hedge fund industry. Partly, this was because of its size – at one point it at $14bn in assets under management – but also because Mindich started the fund 13 years ago and was something of a boy wonder. Mindich joined Goldman Sachs as an associate in its risk arbitrage department after graduating from Harvard with a degree in economics in 1988. Within a few years, he was named head of the department and, in 1994 aged just 27, Goldman named him in its partner class. He was reportedly the youngest person ever to be made partner at the bank. Even in the age of promoting millennials to MD and partner at Goldman Sachs, making it to partner in your 20s is a rarity. Another example of rapid promotion at Goldman is Kunal Shah, its head of emerging markets trading for EMEA, who made it to MD at 27 and was promoted to partner by the time he was 31.
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