Graham, Barclays Vets Launch Commodities-Centric Multi-Strat Hedge Fund

Jul 22 2015 | 5:33pm ET

Former Graham Capital Management executive Marcos Bueno and former Barclay’s fixed-income structuring manager Aurelia Lamorre-Cargill are joining forces to start a commodities-centric, multi-strategy hedge fund.

Named Argon Capital Management, the firm plans to take a “moneyball” approach to human capital, a reference to the book and movie of the same name about a professional baseball team relying on performance statistics to identify promising, but reasonably-paid, players. 

Along these lines, Argon will start with hiring six accomplished portfolio managers in a single fund, deploying a range of strategies in futures, equities, currencies, and credit. The firm is targeting $400 million to $500 million for its first vehicle, according to a statement.

“Commodities is a notoriously difficult and misunderstood asset class to invest in because of its diversity and fragmentation, cyclicality, and capacity constraints,” said Aurelia Lamorre-Cargill, who will function as the company’s CEO. “Argon is really a 2.0 commodities firm…while many commodities portfolio managers tend to operate in silos, our framework promotes cross-asset information flows, leading to optimal investment diversification within a rigorous top-down risk framework.” 

Bueno will operate as the firm’s chief investment risk officer and will allocate capital to the various managers. The firm’s building-block model enables portfolio managers to focus exclusively on strategy performance, not fund marketing or business management, said the company.

“We’ve created a unique structure for the commodities space, comprising niche, in-house portfolio managers running separate strategies to generate a differentiated return profile, independent of any one person, market, style or product, and underpinned by a proven risk management framework”, said Bueno. “We see this approach as the ‘moneyball’ of commodities as we strive to unearth different skillsets that complement each other, for the long-term benefit of investors.”

The company’s goal is to attract the right commodity talent, empower them to pursue optimal risk-adjusted performance, and mitigate negative performance through a firm-wide, self-policing risk management process.

“Argon isn’t a culture of reckless commodity traders, which is a common misconception of the asset class in general,” Bueno continued. “It’s a risk-managed, process-oriented philosophy focused on steady, long-term investor benefits with a highly scalable business model. Having personally witnessed various cycles and the changes in the commodities landscape, I’m very excited for what the future of our space holds.”

Bueno was a partner and senior portfolio manager at Graham Capital before founding Argon. Beforehand, he managed commodities investments at JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s proprietary trading desk, and had stints in UBS’s fundamental investment group and Goldman Sachs’ multi-asset derivatives desk. 

Lamorre-Cargill was head of global head of fixed-income structuring at Barclays until co-founding Argon. While at Barclay’s, she developed the company’s Dynamic Index Strategies, and was previously co-head of principal finance structuring for Deutsche Bank. 

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