Another Two Sigma veteran joins outspoken, uber-alternative money manager

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The Door into Summer

Rishi Ganti has poached another former colleague from hedge fund giant Two Sigma to help manage his highly-alternative private equity funds. James Lavelle, a former senior vice president who spent the last eight years at Two Sigma, joined Ganti’s Orthogon Partners as a partner in August.

Lavelle and fellow partner Brian Lee worked together at Two Sigma, where Ganti managed the personal wealth of its two co-founders, David Siegel and John Overdeck, before founding Orthogon Partners in 2016. Ganti has since made a name for himself by avoiding traditional liquid markets in favor of esoteric, non-market assets.

In a 2017 interview with Bloomberg, Ganti warned money managers that “algorithms are coming for your job – they only ask for electricity.” He suggested at the time that hedge fund managers weren’t recognizing their own career mortality. “They’re anesthetized,” he said.

Looking to gain an edge on computer-reliant rivals, Ganti said he targets alternative investments that can’t be seen by algorithms – assets that require “high human capital” to unearth. So far, these have included providing interim financing for refugee camps in Italy and paying cash to collect judgments due at Brazil’s supreme court, among others, according to Bloomberg.

Ganti received his PhD and JD from Harvard. He’s also a CFA charterholder and speaks six languages, according to a recent bio. Orthogon’s portfolio was said to have gained 10% last year through November 30.

The good news for Lee and the newly-hired Lavelle is that they probably have decent job security considering Ganti’s seeming distaste for traditional investments that can be gamed by algorithms. Employees at Orthogon Partners are unlikely to be replaced by a quant any time soon.

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