BlueCrest, JPMorgan Prop. Trader To Launch Rates, Currency Fund

Oct 4 2011 | 12:43pm ET

The former manager of BlueCrest Capital Management's flagship hedge fund, who also served as its top risk manager, has launched a new proprietary trading firm, with plans to raise up to €1 billion for its maiden hedge fund.

Jonathan Martin, alongside BNP Paribas veteran Christopher Brandt, founded Markham Rae last year, and have been running €250 million for a French institutional investor since December. That strategy has managed a 1.5% return since inception, thanks primarily to Markham Rae's bets on the Swiss franc.

Martin told the Financial Times that the firm will launch the interest rate and currency fund with US$55 million in assets under management. He said that it would be an old-fashioned bank proprietary trading product, investing exclusively in bonds and currencies.

Bank prop. trading is, after all, what Brandt, who serves as Markham Rae's investment chief, knows best. He led BNP's London prop. desk before setting up the new firm. Despite Martin's experience running BlueCrest's AllBlue fund between 2005 and his exit from the firm in 2009, he'll handle risk management for Markham Rae.

Martin and Brandt will be joined by two quantitative traders, Oliver William and Jonas Hawkins, from JPMorgan Chase. Former BlueCrest U.K. marketing head Kerry Duffain will handle business development at the new firm.

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