Mariner Hires Marx Bowens to Trade Rates as Banks Diverge

Mariner Investment Group LLC, the $11 billion hedge-fund firm, hired Marx Bowens from CRT Capital Group LLC to trade interest rates anticipating a divergence in global central bank policies.

Bowens, 44, joined New York-based Mariner this month as a money manager focusing on rates strategies as part of its Silvermine team, according to co-chief investment officer Basil Williams. The unit manages $500 million and invests in sovereign debt, interest-rate derivatives and foreign exchange.

“We’re at the point where the four global developed-market central banks are going to be operating in different directions,” Williams said yesterday in a telephone interview. Mariner anticipates that the Bank of England and U.S. Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates in mid-2015, while the Bank of Japan and European Central Bank will keep easing to stimulate the regions’ economies.

Mariner joins hedge-fund firms including Paul Tudor Jones’ Tudor Investment Corp. in forecasting contrasting monetary policy in developed markets. Jones said this month that macroeconomic investing has been “boring” as central banks have kept interest rates depressed for long periods of time, and that the markets need “a macro doctor to prescribe central bank Viagra.”

Central Banks

The Bank of England signaled that arguments in favor of the first interest-rate increase since 2007 are growing stronger for some officials, according to minutes from the Monetary Policy Committee. Investors are pricing in a rate increase in the first half of 2015, a view shared by economists in Bloomberg’s monthly survey of economists, published yesterday. U.S. Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested in March that the central bank may U.S. interest rates as soon as the middle of next year.

“One thing we think is interesting is volatility is very low,” said Bowens, who ran the rates department at CRT and prior to that macro trading for Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s RBS Securities unit, where he worked with Silvermine’s head portfolio manager, Jack Poulson.

“We try to be positioned for future volatility in the U.S. market,” he said, which Mariner may do by using options on Treasury futures.

Mariner was founded by William Michaelcheck in 1992 and runs multistrategy hedge funds and funds of funds. The firm separately has hired at least five people in the last two years to manage various strategies for its incubation program.

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