Boutique Prime Brokerage Boosts Top Ranks, Expands Capabilities

May 11 2009 | 1:40pm ET

New York-based Meridian Equity Partners is beefing up its top ranks with two new hires.

Robert Akeson recently joined the boutique broker-dealer as president and CEO. In his new role, Akeson will oversee the expansion of Meridian’s research and prime brokerage services capabilities. He was previously COO of Neuberger Berman’s prime brokerage and clearing businesses, and prior to that he was with Morgan Stanley.

“The smaller and mid-sized hedge fund manager is overlooked and underserved by larger firms,” says Akeson, adding that Meridian is expanding its services for both its emerging hedge fund manager clients as well as the firm’s larger, institutional clients.

"We offer cash equities and derivatives, research, risk management consulting and access to the NYSE floor," says Akeson. "Our goal is to enable the smaller fund to operate more on a variable cost basis, while not sacrificing performance."

Meanwhile, Daniel Hutchinson has joined the firm as a senior managing director and is charged with expanding the firm’s equity derivatives group. Hutchinson was previously a managing director at Societe Generale in New York where he led the U.S. flow derivatives group. Prior to that, he was a managing director of equity derivatives at Wachovia Securities and director of equity derivatives at Deutsche Bank Securities.

Hutchinson says that one of Meridian’s strengths is the size of the firm’s derivatives desk. “We have an eight person team working on [derivatives] now and it will grow over the next six months.”

He adds that with risk being foremost on people’s minds these days, the firm is also benefiting from its strong research capabilities.

“Michael McCarty, head of our quant research effort, is well known in the industry for his intellectual rigor and he is a tremendous resource for our clients,” says Hutchinson. “In this environment, having someone who can have a lucid discussion about risk and how to mitigate it is a powerful resource for organizations that may not have [a risk officer] on their own staff.”

In addition to expanding the firm’s prime brokerage unit and beefing up its securities lending services, Meridian has just expanded its research capabilities to include sector analysis. It is also implementing over the counter derivatives and is considering offering fixed income later in the year.


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