Billionaire Platt’s BlueCrest Capital said to shut Hong Kong office

Hong Kong skyscrapers. Photo: Reuters

BlueCrest Capital Management, the firm led by billionaire Michael Platt, is closing its Hong Kong office, according to people close to the situation.

BlueCrest opened the office in 2014 to house the Asian stock team as part of its efforts to build a global equity hedge fund.

The closure comes after a number of senior departures at the firm. Christian Dalban, who led the equities trading group and oversaw dozens of traders who invested money from the U.S. to Asia, left this month. James Chen, the head of BlueCrest’s Asia equities group, left with most of his team to start a new hedge fund earlier this year.

A spokeswoman for BlueCrest declined to comment.

Once among Europe’s largest hedge funds, Platt’s firm in December 2015 announced it would return client money — about $7 billion of the $8 billion it managed — to focus on trading Platt’s and his employees’ wealth, with higher levels of borrowed capital.

BlueCrest returned nearly 50 percent in 2016. Platt said in November 2016 that the year had been an “exceptional trading environment in fixed income,” with BlueCrest “aggressively positioned.”

Prior to the staff departures, Platt had been on a hiring spree to strengthen his rates, emerging markets and equities-trading units. The firm hired at least six equity portfolio managers in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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Bloomberg