Hedge Fund Verrazzano to Return Money in Family-Office Shift

Updated on
  • Ex-Gartmore manager Rambourg says passion for investing waned
  • Says funds are at ‘absolute peak performance’ as cash returned

Hedge fund Verrazzano Capital is returning cash to external investors as Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Rambourg turns the Paris-based asset manager into a family office.

“The funds are at their absolute peak performance,” Rambourg wrote in a statement to Bloomberg on Tuesday announcing the decision. “In my 23rd year in the business of managing money all day, every day, I’ve decided to embark on a new life path.”

A “decent chunk” of the family office’s assets will be invested in Verrazzano fund manager Youssef Benhaddouch’s concentrated European long-only fund, Rambourg said. The remainder will be invested in funds “across an array of asset classes” as well as in private equity with “a firm focus on innovative, socially responsible and impactful investments,” he said.

Verrazzano’s European Opportunities Fund gained 1.7 percent in the 11 months through November, while the European Focus fund was up 3.3 percent, according to an investor letter. The firm has over $600 million in assets. Rambourg said he plans to focus on activities including philanthropy and training for the Berlin marathon. His hedge fund name was inspired by New York’s Verrazano-Narrows bridge, starting point of the city’s marathon.

Verrazzano’s performance compares with the 7.2 percent rise for European long-short funds on average in the 11 months through November, according to Eurekahedge. Verrazzano European Opportunities Fund rose about 3.7 percent net annualized since it began trading in 2012, while Verrazzano European Focus Fund has had net annualized gains of about 7.6 percent since it started the same year, according to their investor letters.

Rambourg set up Verrazzano in 2011 after running some of Gartmore Investment Management’s best-performing funds, overseeing 8.1 billion pounds or more than a third of Gartmore’s assets at the time with Roger Guy.

Benhaddouch, a former head of U.K. and U.S. client sales at French broker Exane BNP Paribas, joined Verrazzano at the end of 2016, according to the firm’s website. He graduated from ESSEC business school in Paris in 1993, the same year as Rambourg.

— With assistance by Suzy Waite

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