Brevan Howard Partner Melkman Is Said to Plan Own Hedge Fund

  • Melkman, trader for Brevan’s Argentina fund, left this week
  • Plans to raise $400 million, start new fund early next year

Ben Melkman, a partner at hedge-fund firm Brevan Howard Asset Management, left the company this week to start his own fund, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Melkman, who joined Brevan Howard in 2009 and is based in Geneva, is planning to start the fund in New York in the first quarter of 2017, said the person, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. He is seeking $400 million at the outset and plans to cap assets at $1 billion during the first year, said the person.

Melkman helped oversee some assets in Brevan Howard’s main fund and was the senior trader for the company’s dedicated Argentina fund, which had more than $500 million under management before closing last month. It produced net returns of 18 percent since opening to outside investors in January 2015. His new fund will focus on macroeconomic trends and take concentrated, long-term positions.

Melkman declined to comment on the new fund, as did a spokesman for Brevan Howard.

David Bonfili, the former chief operating officer at BlackRock Inc.’s Alternative Investors group, is planning to join the firm as COO, said the person. Bonfili also declined to comment.

Brevan Howard has seen its assets decline from $40 billion in 2013 to less than $20 billion. The Brevan Howard Master Fund closed the first quarter down almost 1 percent after losing 2 percent in March, according to a company website.

Investors have asked to pull about $1.4 billion from Brevan Howard’s main hedge fund, two people with knowledge of the matter said in April, as investors flee the industry at the fastest pace since the financial crisis.

Brevan Howard money managers Jonathan Matthews, who traded equities and currencies, and James Fauset left the firm in January, Bloomberg reported Jan. 26, citing a person with knowledge of their departures and records at the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority.

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