Hiring Brian Hunter, the natural gas trader who brought down Amaranth Advisors, may have seemed like a dicey move, but it is paying off for Peak Ridge Capital Group.
The Boston-based private equity firm took a chance on the disgraced trader, whose bad bets cost Amaranth $6.6 billion in 2006, hiring him as an adviser to its Peak Ridge Commodity Volatility hedge fund. Employing essentially the same strategy that destroyed Amaranth, the fund has returned 138% since it launched in November, including a 49% return in the first quarter and 17% last month.
According to a letter to investors obtained by Bloomberg News, Peak Ridge's bet that the March contract would settle lower than the April contract paid off when March settled at a 1.5% discount to April.
Peak Ridge reportedly fully controls its trading, risk management and operations, and Hunter makes no decisions on his own, as he did at Amaranth.
Hunter, for his part, is still facing enforcement actions in the U.S. filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.