Ex-Merrill Prop. Trader Finally Finds Seeder For Hedge Fund

May 3 2011 | 4:11am ET

More than two years after it was originally supposed to launch, the hedge fund founded by former Merrill Lynch credit trader Mark Devonshire has at long last secured the seed capital it needs to get off the ground.

Devonshire's mCapital has won a €50 million commitment from Advanced Capital, an Italian fund of private equity funds, the Financial Times reports. That figure is a far cry from the US$500 million Devonshire once thought he could raise at launch, but after at least three false starts, the more modest amount will have to do.

Devonshire, who headed Merrill's proprietary credit trading business before leaving to found mCapital in Hong Kong, lost out on some US$1 billion in commitments when he failed to come up with sufficient seed capital in 2009. He was first stymied by the collapse of hedge fund seeder Harbour Capital before running into a series of difficult, and eventually failed, negotiations with other seeders, including pension funds.

But the seeding environment has improved markedly since then, with seeders looking to deploy their billions. And former prop. traders—who have been fleeing banks in the wake of new U.S. financial services regulations—have found receptive investors, who have poured billions into their new hedge funds.


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