Wed, Dec 2, 2015
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Industry Updates

Flow of prop traders to hedge funds expected to continue

Thursday, February 03, 2011
Opalesque Industry Update - Proprietary trading desks at large banks have always been a source of talent for hedge funds. Many successful hedge fund managers had been proprietary traders – Dan Och of Och-Ziff, Eddie Lambert of ESL Investments, Eric Mindich of Eton Park Capital Management and Dinakar Singh of TPG-Axon Capital to name a few. In fact, prop traders account for most of the largest-ever hedge fund launches.

“The exodus from prop desks to hedge funds has gone on for over the past ten years. Throughout the years, however, different motivations have pushed prop traders to hedge funds. For example, in 2008 and 2009, a number of investment banks pared proprietary trading following losses during the financial crisis. Prop traders left for hedge funds in 2009 in an effort to escape increased oversight of compensation and trading constraints,” comments Lois Peltz, president of Infovest21, and author of its just-released special research report on the topic.

Since 2010, prop traders have been squeezed out of large investment banks due to the Volcker rule provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. First announced in January 2010, President Obama signed the Act into law in July 2010.

While a number of prop traders have already joined hedge funds or are in the process of starting their own, more spin outs are expected.

Some say the best traders have already been picked off. “The most marketable go first. Goldman’s Principal Strategies Group is done – they are all done. Goldman took them off the payroll on December 31, 2011. They are no longer employees unless they transferred into another role in Goldman. Many were offered other roles,” says a former Goldman employee.

But as others point out, there are more proprietary traders than at Goldman Sachs. “If regulation continues on the trend it has been, it is inevitable that more prop traders will emerge from banks in 2011. Some investment banks have been quick off the mark, others have not. Most are waiting to see specific rules elaborated by regulators and then they’ll make their decision,” says the head of a seeding operation.

An equity analyst observes that where the law is clear, the investment banks are adhering i.e. closing down the units or spinning them off. However, where ambiguity exists, they’re holding off in that regulators may take a broader approach.

“Many talented prop traders are still left. Not all banks have closed their prop desks – it may take a number of years for some banks to be in compliance,” says a principal at a multi-strategy platform.

Bank of America’s proprietary fixed income desk is one of the large remaining prop desks that hasn’t yet announced plans to spin off or close. Bank of America got the desk when it bought Merrill Lynch.



What do you think?

   Use "anonymous" as my name    |   Alert me via email on new comments   |   
Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing

  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. David Einhorn's hedge fund plunged 5.2% in November, set for 2015 loss[more]

    From David Einhorn’s main hedge fund at Greenlight Capital fell 5.2 percent in November and is poised for only its second losing year in almost two decades. The losses bring the fund’s yearly drop to almost 21 percent, according to an e-mail sent to clients that was obtained by Bloomb

  2. Other Voices: Hedge fund marketing and the selling cycle[more]

    By Bruce Frumerman. How long is the selling cycle now? That’s a question my financial communications and sales marketing consulting firm has been asked on a regular basis by hedge fund firm owners and sales people, ever since we opened the doors to our firm in 1987 pre-crash. Wa

  3. People - Solus Alternative Asset Management adds chief strategist from BTIG[more]

    From Daniel Greenhaus joined hedge fund manager Solus Alternative Asset Management as managing director and chief strategist. He will work closely with Chris Bondy, Solus’ chief economist, managing director and executive vice president, said Chris Pucillo, CEO and chief investmen

  4. Commodities - Stung by oil, distressed-debt traders see worst losses since '08[more]

    From It’s mid-November, but for investors who trade in the debt of distressed companies, the year’s already done -- and they lost. Hedge funds that specialize in the debt are grappling with their worst declines in seven years. Funds managed by Knighthead Capital Management, Candlewood

  5. Regulatory - Major changes in partnership audit procedures contained in 2015 Budget Act[more]

    Contained in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed by President Obama on November 2, is a rather complex provision that materially changes how partnerships are audited. Generally effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, the so-called “TEFRA” and “Electing Large Partnership” rul