Ex-Goldman Trader Saiz Said to Lock $600 Million Oil Fund

Vector Commodity Management LLP, a hedge fund run by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. trader Gilbert Saiz, stopped taking investor money after assets rose to almost $600 million, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The fund, based in London, returned 16 percent in the first four months of this year and stopped taking new money on May 1, said the people, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. Vector Chief Executive Officer Edmund Gordon Clark declined to comment by phone yesterday from London.

Vector, which started trading in June, was helped as New York crude rose 6.8 percent in April, the eighth consecutive monthly advance. Oil’s April gains were wiped out this month, with prices down almost 10 percent. Hedge fund managers took in as much as $73.2 billion so far this year, exceeding the 2010 total of $66 billion, according to data from Singapore-based Eurekahedge Pte.

“Dedicated commodity strategies remain a strong area of interest for hedge fund investors, and this demand has increased in the past year,” James Skeggs, London-based head of Research in Europe for Newedge Prime Brokerage, said yesterday by e-mail. “There is a somewhat limited number of discretionary funds that are open to new investment, and those that are have broadly been successful at raising money over this period.”

Saiz, 35, the firm’s chief investment officer, previously worked at J. Aron and Goldman Sachs, according to a biography on the fund’s website. He was an executive director in charge of Goldman’s European fuel-oil business from 2005 to 2009. Clark was formerly managing director of shipping derivatives at ICAP Plc, the world’s biggest broker of transactions between banks.

Relative Value

Vector invests mainly in relative-value strategies that seek to profit on price gaps between contracts such as different oil products. It planned to cap assets in the fund at $600 million before it started trading, according to a marketing document distributed to potential investors last year.

Vector returned 0.74 percent in April, the people said. It rose 9 percent from June through December last year and has gained 25 percent since inception.

Before last week, oil had advanced 25 percent this year as unrest in northern Africa and the Middle East sparked concern over supply disruptions.

Oil presents a “short-term buying opportunity” because supply constraints and growing demand will cause prices to rebound from last week’s 13 percent plunge, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s New York-based head of commodities research Francisco Blanch, said yesterday. New York-traded crude futures dropped for the first time in three days, sliding 1.4 percent to $102.43 a barrel as of 2:27 a.m. London time.

Hedge funds globally rose 3 percent this year through April, according to the Eurekahedge’s index, published yesterday. Hedge funds are largely unregulated investment vehicles whose managers can trade any asset, aim to make money regardless of whether markets rise or fall and participate substantially in profits from money invested.

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