Hedge-Fund Manager Saiers Steps Down to Pursue Art Career

Nelson Saiers is stepping down from his role as chief investment officer of Saiers Capital LLC to pursue a career as an artist, leaving the top role at the firm to founder Jason Adler.

The 39-year-old money manager will continue as an adviser to the fund while Adler will assume responsibilities of CIO starting Sept. 30, according to a letter to investors that was obtained by Bloomberg News. Adler started the New York-based hedge fund in 2007 by transforming his former firm Geronimo LLC, an options market maker that he founded in 2001, into a fund that wagers on volatility.

Adler hired Saiers in July 2010 and promoted him to head of investing in March 2011 as the firm’s assets under management increased to $688 million at the end of December from $110 million four years earlier. Saiers was made full partner and co-managing member in 2013, when the firm changed its name to Saiers Capital from Alphabet Management LLC and Adler started focusing on the company’s non-investing activities.

A request for comment on the career change was declined by Saiers while Adler, who started the firm with $11 million, didn’t respond to an e-mail sent outside of regular business hours in New York.

Greek Mythology

Saiers, who received his doctorate in math when he was 23, will produce art with a focus on mathematical relationships, according to a website showing his work of mostly paintings.

“Nelson Saiers’ art draws inspiration from a range of subjects –- such as philosophy, Greek mythology, chess, and even modern culture such as hip-hop –- portraying them through a mathematical lens that translates ideas into symbols and metaphor,” the website said.

Saiers, who spent part of his childhood in Ethiopia and Afghanistan, was a managing director for proprietary derivatives trading at Deutsche Bank AG before joining Adler’s firm. He worked at Germany’s biggest lender in New York for three years and previously held trading positions at UBS AG and Susquehanna International Group LLP. He earned his doctorate in math from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

‘Good, Evil’

“This body of work conveys my unique visual perspective and values, which are rooted in a special inclination toward mathematics as well as experiences that have shaped my views of good, evil, choice, and absolute truth,” Saiers said in a statement on his website.

Adler and Saiers use derivatives, including exchange-traded options, to bet that volatility levels for stocks and other assets worldwide are too high or low in relation to each other. The fund uses its own pricing models to monitor options markets and make trades. The team of investment professionals includes Saiers’s brother Scott, who was hired as head trader in 2012.

Saiers mixed his interest in art with philanthropy in October. He pledged to donate $100,000 to the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Sandy, which slammed into New York and New Jersey in 2012, if British graffiti artist Banksy used one of his wall murals to raise awareness for people still affected by the storm.

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