Lehr, who previously worked at Soros Fund Management LLC, left the Frankfurt-based bank last month with three “core investor professionals,” he said by telephone from New York yesterday. He declined to provide further details on the fund.
Lehr was hired by Deutsche Bank, Europe’s biggest lender by assets, in 2010 to form a cross-commodity trading team, which focuses on investments in a portfolio of metals, energy and crops.
“My team and I left to launch a hedge fund later this year,” Lehr said. “We really enjoyed our time at Deutsche and hope to continue the relationship from the client side.”
Amanda Williams, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank in New York, declined to comment on the departures.
Lehr’s team at Deutsche was created to handle large investments in commodities without distorting prices with sudden inflows of cash, he said in a May 2011 interview.
Prior to working for Deutsche and Soros, Lehr worked as a portfolio manager at Caxton Associates LP and as a strategist for John Levin & Co., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Barclays Plc lost most of its gas and power trading team to competitors and hedge funds over the past 18 months, in part because of bonus caps, limits on the amount traders can risk and shrinking revenue from the division that includes commodities.
Commodity traders and bankers starting hedge funds in recent months include Paul Crone, a former head trader at Touradji Capital Management LP; Jean Bourlot, a former head of commodities at UBS AG; Neal Shear, who spent 25 years at Morgan Stanley; and Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS) Taimur Hassan.
Crone started a metals hedge fund in New York this year, while Bourlot and Shear helped to found London-based Higgs Capital Management LLP, which trades metals, energy and agricultural commodities. Hassan founded Frere Hall Capital Management, also in London, according to regulatory filings.
Assets under management at commodity hedge funds rose $1.11 billion to $84.14 billion at the end of July as returns more than offset outflows from investor withdrawals, according to the New York-based researcher eVestment|HFN.