Ex-BlueCrest Team to Open Over $200 Million Hedge Fund

Updated on
  • Hong Kong-based hedge fund Ovata started trading on Dec. 1
  • Initial capital includes money from one anchor institution

Skyscrapers in the business district of Central in Hong Kong.

Photographer: Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg

A team of traders who left BlueCrest Capital Management earlier this year raised more than $200 million for their own hedge fund focused on Asian stocks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Ovata Capital Management began trading with internal money and capital from an anchor institutional investor on Dec. 1, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information hasn’t been publicly disclosed. The Hong Kong-based firm is led by Chief Investment Officer James Chen, who had headed the Asia equities team at BlueCrest, the investment firm led by billionaire Michael Platt.

Hedge fund starts in Asia are showing signs of revival after the slowest pace ever in the first nine months of the year. Asia hedge funds returned nearly 17 percent on average in the first 11 months of 2017, 10 percentage points ahead of global peers, according to preliminary data from Singapore-based Eurekahedge Pte.

Ovata would be among the largest Asian hedge funds to start trading this year. Izzy Englander’s Millennium Management is backing long-time employee Ayan Sen’s Navik Capital (Singapore) with $400 million for a fund that will open in 2018, in what is likely to be one of the largest macro hedge-fund startups in the region in recent memory.

New hedge funds being planned include one from Wang Dawei, formerly of Soros Fund Management’s Hong Kong unit, who plans to open a long-short stock fund next year. Li Ran, previously at Nomura Holdings Inc., is starting a global multi-strategy hedge fund with a focus on Asia and credit.

Ovata will bet on or against stocks and will use a range of strategies such as exploiting pricing gaps between related shares and targeting companies affected by corporate events such as mergers, the person said. Nicholas Bloom, Ovata’s chief operating officer, declined to comment.

The firm’s 13 employees mostly include those that worked for BlueCrest’s equities group in Asia, including David Winsley, who leads relative value and event investments at the new firm, and Donough Murphy, who heads equity capital markets, the person said. Another BlueCrest alumnus, Chris Sinpraseuth, leads dealing at Ovata.

Among the new recruits are Choot Lim, who heads the arbitrage strategy, and Ken Fujii, the chief risk officer. They were managing directors at RBC Capital Markets LLC and BNP Paribas SA respectively, according to regulatory data and their LinkedIn profiles.

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