Duet Starts Venture With Former Credit Suisse Latin Chief

Duet Asset Management Ltd., the hedge-fund group founded by Henry Gabay, started a unit with Pedro Chomnalez, Credit Suisse Group AG’s former head of investment banking in Latin America, and Diego Gradowczyk, Barclays Plc’s ex-head of emerging-markets trading.

Duet Latin America is a partnership with CG Capital, an investment company started by Chomnalez and Gradowczyk, London-based Duet said today in an e-mailed statement. The company’s first venture, Merchant Opportunity Fund, will focus on non-financial assets and private equity in Latin America. Duet Latin America may also help manage Duet’s Emerging Markets Real Estate Debt Fund.

Credit Suisse is losing some of its top talent as the company reorganizes itself and cuts jobs. Luigi de Vecchi, who had been global co-head of investment banking, was hired by Citigroup last week. The Swiss lender eliminated 120 jobs in New York City in December after merging asset management with the private bank to speed cost cutting. UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, said last year it will cut 10,000 jobs and shrink debt trading.

Chomnalez, 48, said last month he is leaving Credit Suisse after 13 years at Switzerland’s second-largest bank and nine years leading the firm in Latin America. Gradowczyk left Barclays in 2010 after nine years as an emerging markets trader.

“Latin America is a strategic region for Duet, and this partnership with Diego and Pedro, two of the most experienced professionals in the region, will allow us to increase our asset management capabilities in emerging markets,” Gabay said in the statement.

‘Longterm Value’

CG Capital will try to create “value in the long term,” Chomnalez told Bloomberg last month. Initial investors include families in Latin America and some in Europe, and the firm will do business with Credit Suisse, he said.

Duet’s flagship Global Plus equity fund returned 11 percent last year, while its Africa Opportunities fund climbed 28 percent. Its Mena Horizon fund, focused on the Middle East and North Africa, rose 13 percent and its commodity fund lost 10 percent.

Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Chomnalez worked at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Gradowczyk was a fund manager at Compass Group LLC before joining Barclays.

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