Ex-BlueCrest portfolio manager Hashemi to launch own hedge fund -sources

November 8, 2016 6:57 AM EST

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By Maiya Keidan

LONDON (Reuters) - Ex-BlueCrest portfolio manager Ardy Hashemi plans to launch an equity hedge fund with the backing of $200 million from U.S.-based Lighthouse Investment Partners, sources close to the matter told Reuters.

Lighthouse, which manages about $8.5 billion in assets, currently has 110 investments in a wide range of hedge fund strategies.

Hashemi is expected to start London-based Hashemi Asset Management in the new year and will focus on European equities as part of a so-called long-short strategy, one source said, betting on both rising and falling share prices.

Hashemi, 32, joins a number of people to leave BlueCrest Capital Management, the $8 billion hedge fund firm founded by billionaire Mike Platt that announced it was closing to outside investors in December 2015.

Citadel recently hired a team that once ran one-fifth of BlueCrest's assets while another former portfolio manager, Takashi Makita, is launching his own computer-driven hedge fund firm.

Hashemi's new venture will receive $200 million from Florida-based Lighthouse, a second source said, placing it among the largest start-ups in Europe this year. A spokesman for Lighthouse declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Just 11 funds launched globally in 2016 manage a similar amount, data from industry tracker Preqin showed.

At BlueCrest Hashemi had been an equities portfolio manager at BlueCrest between April 2013 and September this year, a third source said.

He also previously worked at Japanese investment bank Nomura and hedge fund giant Millennium Capital Partners, the website of British regulator the Financial Conduct Authority showed.

The launch comes amid lackluster returns at equities-focused hedge funds, which have made gains of 3.71 percent on average in the year to end-October, compared with losses of 0.97 percent in 2015 and gains of 1.81 percent in 2014, according to data from Hedge Fund Research.

(Reporting by Maiya Keidan; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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