Neuberger Buys Horizon Options Group as Kramer Unites Team

  • Neuberger adds client assets, team from Horizon Kinetics
  • Quadrangle, Goldman Sachs alum Kramer sees options opportunity

Neuberger Berman, the employee-owned money manager run by George Walker, acquired an options investing team from Horizon Kinetics after hiring its chief executive officer, Doug Kramer.

Kramer joined Neuberger in November after leading Horizon Kinetics for about five years. This is the first time the money manager has had a team dedicated solely to options strategy management, Kramer said in a telephone interview. He was previously the chief operating officer of Quadrangle Group, the private-equity firm co-founded by Steven Rattner, and a partner at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The Horizon deal adds client assets and a team including Derek Devens, a Goldman Sachs alum who will be a managing director and senior portfolio manager at Neuberger, plus research analysts Rory Ewing and Eric Zhou. Kramer’s group will work with institutional clients, though the strategies could apply to high-net-worth individuals over time, he said. Neuberger declined to disclose terms of the deal.

“In the context of a lower-return environment, clients are looking to broaden their toolkit to include other capabilities that can generate return,” Kramer said. “We do think that using options in portfolios is going to be a growth area.”

Options Contracts

Options contracts allow investors to buy or sell a security at a specified price. The CBOE S&P 500 PutWrite Index, which tracks a hypothetical portfolio of put options, has climbed about 2 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 6 percent decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Neuberger managed $237 billion of client assets as of Sept. 30 and has more than 2,100 professionals, according to a statement Monday. The firm, which has offices in 19 countries, has been adding capabilities. It agreed last year to take over management of private equity fund of funds that were previously managed by Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch. The firm in 2015 also added a head of insurance solutions, Matt Malloy, from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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