Sir Michael Hintze’s CQS has been letting people go. Over the past 18 months, headcount fell by 18.5% - or around 50 people – and senior staff have continued to flood the market in 2017. They’ve also been finding new jobs.
Nick Nassuphis, the former head of European equity exotics trading at both Barclays and Credit Suisse who joined CQS’s systematic trading division in January 2015, left the firm in March according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Register. He’s now been hired by asset manager Insight Investments as a portfolio manager in London.
Nassuphis has a masters degree from MIT and started out as an FX exotics trader at Bankers Trust in 1994. He worked as head of London FX exotics trading for German Landesbank WestLB before moving to Credit Suisse First Boston in 2000 as head of European equity exotics trading. He switched across to Barclays in may 2005, to lead its equity exotics business.
He’s not the only senior exit this year. The FCA Register also shows that Peter Warren, a portfolio manager and head of distribution who joined CQS in 2008, left at the end of last year and has just re-emerged at Capula Investment Management as co-head of global investor relations.
Warren joined CQS in February 2008 after nearly 14 years at Goldman Sachs. He was latterly co-head of equity-linked solutions and head of equity syndicate, but also worked as global head of equity linked research at the bank from 1992-1999.
Yan Huo, a former managing director at J.P Morgan, and Masao Asai, who previously worked in treasury at UFJ Bank, co-founded Capula in 2005. The hedge fund has a taste for hiring former senior investment bankers and continued to pay its employees hefty salaries even while buy-side firms cut back. Last year, it paid an average of £3.9m for its 26 partners and someone at the firm received £34m.
Adam Sorab, the head of technical research and product specialist sales at CQS, has also left the firm according to the FCA, but has yet to secure a new role. Daniel Woodbridge, the former head of research at Marble Bar Asset Management who joined CQS in 2013, has also departed.
In December Hintze told investors that fee pressure and increasing costs had resulted in a "paradigm shift" in the asset management industry. "The industry needs to adapt and we have done so during 2016. We have streamlined the business and I believe we are ahead of the curve," he said.
Despite the recent exits, CQS still has 222 employees - a slight increase on the 217 people it had at the end of 2015, according to its latest available accounts. It currently has $12.7bn in assets under management, up marginally from just under $12bn at the beginning of 2016.