2018 ended badly for hedge fund jobs, with reports of the worst year for performance since 2011 and Balyasny Asset Management letting go of 125 people. 2019 has started in a similar vein, with AQR Capital Management expelling employees globally. However, one hedge fund has been quietly hiring - BlueCove asset management, a new 'scientific' fixed income firm.
Founded by Hugh Willis and Alex Khein, both formerly of BlueBay, BlueCove made headlines last November when it hired nine people from BlackRock’s systematic investing team in London, including five managing directors. At the time, the FT said BlueCove planned to recruit another five to ten staff before launching in the second half of 2019. The company's website indicates that it already has 29 people on board, and hiring is understood to be ongoing.
BlueCove declined to comment for this article, but its most recent recruits include Gareth Williams, a former strat at Goldman Sachs, Zhe Wang, a former member of Goldman's systematic trading strategies team, and Ana Jovanovic, a developer who previously worked on JPMorgan's Athena risk management and pricing system.
Wang and Jovanovic are comparatively early in their careers, with both having spent less than three years at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan respectively. BlueCove's more experienced hires include James Turner, its new head of systems engineering, who's worked in a variety of front office development roles across the City after completing a PhD in computing at Warwick University in 2003.
In November, Willis the told the FT he was luring experienced staff and portfolio managers to BlueCove with the offer of equity in his new firm. Headhunters suggest this may be an unnecessary incentive. "BlueCove is one of the most interesting funds in this space. The quality of management is such that a lot of people are keen to work there,” says Christian Robbins at Tradestone Search.
As a fund that boasts of bringing together 'leading fixed income industry investment and engineering professionals' with the intention of creating 'scientifically-driven fixed income products,' BlueCove is mostly hiring developers and quants. Several of its recruits have done stints at Google. However, the fund has also launched a new internship programme (applications for which need to be submitted by January 27th 2019) which includes roles for engineering and research interns.
BlueCove is asking that applicants for its engineering internships provide links to any open source code contributions or relevant coding they've done (as long as it's not confidential). Research interns are being asked to write 1,000 words on why realized outperformance tends to be lower than the modelled outperformance, and how investors can create a strategy that's less likely to underperform as a result.
For all its hiring BlueCove isn't actually up and running yet. - It doesn't have a licence from the UK Financial Conduct Authority. However, a licence is expected to be forthcoming in the first half of 2019 and the fund plans to launch is first products in the second half of the year.
“Actively managed scientific fixed income is set to be the next major growth market for the industry,” Willis told the FT. “It has the potential to be the most important product development in fixed income markets since Vanguard launched the first passive bond fund in 1986.”
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