European Hedge Fund Giant BlueCrest Laid Off A Bunch Of U.S. Traders And It's Spinning Off Its Biggest Fund

Michael PlattBloomberg TVMichael Platt, the founder of BlueCrest

There was some speculation among trader that this week’s market weakness might be attributed to a hedge fund liquidating.

While it remains unclear if this is the case, there’s some pretty big news out today on European hedge fund behemoth BlueCrest Capital that’s worth noting.

The Wall Street Journal’s Juliet Chung is now reporting that BlueCrest has laid off a number of analysts and portfolio managers in the U.S. because of performance issues.

“We remain very focused on performance and unfortunately we’ve had to make some changes in the U.S. team. However, our overall strategy remains very firmly in place and we will continue to grow the team and build the fund,” BlueCrest CFO Andrew Dodd said in a statement posted by the Journal.

The fund’s head of U.S. equities, Jonathan Larkin, has resigned, the Journal’s report said citing unnamed sources.

What’s more is according to Bloomberg News, high-profile portfolio manager Leda Braga’s computer-driven BlueTrend fund is being spun off into an independent firm called Systematica Investments.

The Brazilian-born fund manager ran BlueCrest’s biggest fund. At one point, BlueCrest had $13.6 billion in AUM. However, her fund has seen its billions in assets slump. She currently manages BlueTrend’s $8.3 billion. BlueTrend also cut its management fees to 1.5% from 2% this summer, the report said.

BlueCrest — which was founded by former JPMorgan traders Michael Platt and William Reeves — has seen its assets fall from $US37.4 billion in May of last year to $US27.4 billion.

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