‘Honest’ Rifat A ‘Trader That Matters’

Mar 25 2010 | 1:30pm ET

The arrest of Moore Capital Management’s Julian Rifat Tuesday on suspicion of insider-trading has shocked his former colleagues.

Rifat, an execution trader at Moore’s London office, has worked for several top names in British finance, including Dresdner Kleinwort Securities and Brevan Howard Asset Management, Europe’s largest hedge fund manager. Former colleagues describe Rifat as honest and scrupulous, and expressed doubt that he was involved in any wrongdoing, Bloomberg News reports.

Rifat, who has been placed on administrative from Moore, has not yet been charged with a crime. He has been released on bail.

As an execution trader, Rifat’s job did not involve managing money, but seeking out the best prices for Moore’s portfolio managers. According to the hedge fund, Rifat’s allegedly improper trading took place in his own account and did not affect any of Moore’s funds.

Jerome Lussan of hedge fund consultancy Laven Partners told Bloomberg that trading on one’s own account is not uncommon among execution traders, who may be trying to build a track record of their own.

“Almost every execution trader wants to one day be a portfolio manager,” he said.

Despite his status as a mere execution trader, however, Rifat was named one of “15 institutional investors that matter” by Morgan Stanley in a November presentation. He was one of three Moore employees to appear on the list, alongside Greg Coffey, the firm’s co-chief investment officer, and Paul Findlay, who manages European stocks at the firm.

Before joining the first time Moore, Rifat was head of fund sales at Dresdner Kleinwort, and also worked at Robertson Stephenson International. He left Moore in 2007 to join Brevan Howard, but worked at the hedge fund for less than a month. He then spent four months at hedge fund VCM Fund Management before returning to Moore in July 2008.

Ironically, Rifat, whose arrest came on his 41st birthday, is a neighbor of the man whose agency is overseeing his case. Financial Services Authority Chairman Hector Sants lives just about 250 yards from Rifat in Oxford.

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