Ramius Managed Accounts Platform Debuts With Merrill Vet At Helm

Mar 1 2010 | 2:10pm ET

Cowen Group has launched a managed accounts platform, nabbing the man behind Merrill Lynch’s own successful platform to run it.

The former Ramius Capital—which reversed-merged with boutique investment bank Cowen last year—said its new Ramius Trading Strategies would be led by William Marr, former global head of hedge fund research and portfolio construction at Merrill. The new platform’s first fund, RTS Global Fund, launched today with less than US$100 million, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The new fund will invest in hedge funds trading futures and cash currencies. Less than half of the fund’s assets will be invested with momentum traders, and some will go to high-frequency traders. Ramius Alternative Solutions, Cowen’s fund of hedge funds business, has made a significant seed investment in RTS Global.

“RTS Global Fund is a concentrated single strategy, multi-manager portfolio trading across roughly 250 markets in commodities, currencies, equities, and fixed income,” Marr said. “With no structural long biases in any asset class, no requirement for access to borrowed capital, active, trading-oriented portfolio management, and access to outstanding managers, we believe the strategy reduces structural and indirect risks for clients while presenting a compelling investment opportunity.”

Marr, who was named president and CEO of RTS, built a similar multi-manager managed-accounts platform at Merrill. That platform is notable for having quickly attracted some $800 million and for holding up well in 2008, when the average hedge fund plunged by double-digits. He headed hedge fund research and portfolio construction at Merrill for three years, overseeing more than $25 billion. Prior to joining Merrill, he was global head of alternative investments at Julius Baer Investment Management.

In addition to Marr, Cowen has also brought on Alexander Rudin and Nadine Haidar to staff RTS. Rudin, named director of investment research, served under Marr at both Merrill and Julius Baer. Haidar was a senior due diligence analyst at Merrill under Marr, joining that firm from Credit Suisse’s hedge fund investment group.

RTS will offer investors liquidity safeguards, position-level transparency, daily risk attribution and daily net-asset value reporting.

“The financial crisis had many lessons for the hedge fund industry, and one of the most important is that investors are demanding more control of assets, better liquidity, and significant, daily transparency,” Peter Cohen, CEO of Cowen and founder of Ramius, said.

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