Credit Suisse Asia Markets Bankers Plan Macro Hedge Fund

  • Managing directors in Hong Kong may leave bank this month
  • Kiely, Firth to start cross-asset fund under Rafiki Capital

Two Hong Kong-based managing directors at Credit Suisse Group AG plan to leave the bank to start a macro hedge fund, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lucas Kiely, Credit Suisse’s head of cross-market trading, and Charles Firth, the Asia Pacific head of equity structuring, may leave the bank as soon as this month, the people said. They will depart to start a new cross-asset fund which will use instruments including derivatives to take investment positions based on macroeconomic views, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

The duo, who both moved from UBS Group AG to Credit Suisse, has a firm called Rafiki Capital Management (Hong Kong) registered under their names, according to Hong Kong corporate registry filings. The new fund may add at least three more managing directors from various banks, the people said.

Credit Suisse Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam has restructured businesses to shift away from securities trading and focus on wealth management since taking over in July last year. While Thiam successfully ended six months of losses last quarter, his overhaul and signal to cut more costs and jobs as part of his wider overhaul that runs through 2018 may lead to more bankers’ disgruntlement.

A spokesman for Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Macro Funds

The 160-year-old lender lost more than half of its market value since Thiam took over. Investors such as Harris Associates have increased stakes in Switzerland’s second-largest bank to bet on the success of his turnaround.

Macro funds in Asia were down 0.5 percent in the first seven months of this year, after rising 2.1 percent last year, according to Singapore-based data provider Eurekahedge Pte. Thin returns globally have led firms including BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, and Fortress Investment Group to wind down certain macro funds.

Lackluster performance of global macro hedge funds, which invest in equity, fixed income, currency and commodity markets, hasn’t stopped money managers from launching new investment vehicles in Asia. South Korea’s Samsung Asset Management Co. said it is starting a macro fund this year, while Asian firms Zaaba Capital, Oxbow Capital Management (HK) and Acion Partners launched funds with various strategies in the last two years.

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