GLOBAL - BlueCrest Capital Management has moved its group head office to Guernsey and opened a Geneva trading centre in a further sign of hedge funds opening operations outside London, whose attraction as a financial centre is fading.
Its Guernsey head office will be staffed initially by two partners who have permanently relocated there, with several professionals recruited locally expected to join them in weeks.
Michael Platt, co-founder of the 10-year old firm, said after the changes, 70% of the $18bn manager's staff will still be based in London.
The manager also has offices in New York, Boston and Singapore.
No traders are expected to be located in Guernsey, in contrast to Geneva, where 70 people, predominantly investment professionals, are expected to work by the end of this year.
The reorganization will also see some senior staff taking on new responsibilities, Platt wrote to investors in a letter seen by Global Pensions.
Platt wrote: "We are strongly of the view that the new group structure, including the establishment of the Geneva office in particular, will enhance the group's ability to recruit and retain the best talent in our industry, so helping us to continue to deliver strong investment performance."
He cited the increasingly global nature of BlueCrest's business, and the need to "ensure the safeguard and enhance our industry-leading human capital base" as reasons for the changes.
"BlueCrest has, from a legal and operational standpoint, been a predominantly UK centred business," he wrote.
"In recent years the business has expanded to develop investment management and other activities in the US, and trade execution capabilities in Singapore.
"We believe the establishment of a second investment management operation in Europe represents an obvious next step in the development of the business. The implementation of this strategy increases our options for future growth and also serves to reduce the business risk of over-dependency on a single jurisdiction."
Platt added BlueCrest selected Geneva over a number of competing locations due to its status as a financial centre, its "stable financial environment", the fact many investors in BlueCrest's funds are there, and Geneva's proximity to London.
Platt said no funds would change management as a result of the move.
The team on its Credit and Mercantile funds will sit in Geneva and London respectively, he said.
The emerging markets and FX teams already operate effectively between London and New York.
The rates and fixed income / relative value teams will be split between London and Geneva, without adverse effect in BlueCrest's opinion as they do not rely on desk-bound infrastructure.
Most people in BlueCrest's systematic fund teams have already moved to, or will soon be based in, Geneva, he said.
BlueCrest's central support functions will continue to be located in London.
On risk - a core expertise at BlueCrest - Platt wrote: "The seven-person independent risk management group headed by Matthew Weir will continue to be based in London, although both Matthew and Ronan Cantwell, who has responsibility within the risk team for the rates and relative value desks, will visit Geneva frequently and we anticipate holding the majority of the fortnightly risk committee meetings in person in the Geneva office."
Although BlueCrest Capital Management will cease to be regulated as a result of this reordering, Platt wrote it will continue to be registered with the SEC, authorised by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, and "intends to operate the entire business consistently with the relevant provisions of FSA regulatory framework under which we have operated since inception".
It could retain an independent consultant to ensure its adherence with FSA standards, he added.
As a further result of the reorganization, chief operating officer Peter Cox and general counsel Paul Dehadray, who will remain in London, will join Platt, BlueTrend manager Leda Braga and chief investment officer Andrew Dodd on BlueCrest's group-wide executive committee.
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