The star trader Charlie Chan (Charlie Chan Wai Kheong) and four of the members from his Credit Suisse FX prop team are leaving the firm and launching a hedge fund, Charlie Chan Capital Partners.
Chan has been a top performer in the prop space for years. He has headed the FX trading desk for years and made a name for himself, making his move to the hedge fund space a natural progression in his career.
All eyes are on this launch, given Chan’s pedigree – he is a 25-year veteran of Credit Suisse and among
the top-rated traders in Asia. He is seen to be one of the pioneers of bank prop trading scene in Asia
since the early 1990s, running a sizable book at CS, returns from which have been creating a significant buzz in the market.
The fund will launch in Singapore, where Chan and his team are currently located, at the beginning of 2011.
The firm will launch an Asian macro strategy focusing on the high-octane Asian markets, apparently similar to the strategy they’ve been running at Credit Suisse for five years.
A picture of Chan is, unfortunately, no where to be found, and other details about the trader are scarce. He is mentioned in this lawsuit from 2000, however, which was filed by a Credit Suisse employee who filed against the bank for wrongly dismissing him.
From the lawsuit:
Latham alleged that he had been wrongfully dismissed by CSFB as CSFB were unhappy with him for complaining about certain incidents that took place at work. First, he had discovered that some of his colleagues were unlawfully using inside information for trading activities for the benefit of CSFB and secondly, he had complained about the fact that the chief trader at CSFB, Charlie Chan (‘Chan’), was engaging in the practice of deliberate mis-marking of CSFB’s trading books by grossly undervaluing the assets held in these books in order to avoid paying taxes.
Latham brought a lawsuit against Credit Suisse that said senior management had become “annoyed” with him and fired him unjustly because of various claims he made, two of which were about Chan.
In one instance, Latham’s claims were that Chan mis-marked Credit Suisse’s trading books. They were ruled baseless.
Latham’s second claim about Chan is a little more obscure. It has to do with bonds that he was told to purchase based off allegedly insider information. He never purchased them.
From the lawsuit:
Latham said that his dismissal was motivated by bad faith on the part of CSFB, in particular Harvey and Chan, in relation to the Srithai bonds matter. This issue arose out of a visit by Latham to Bangkok on 27 August 1997 to consider whether there were any opportunities to provide short-term financing to credit-worthy companies.
During his trip, Latham came to be aware of the fact that Srithai had a plan to use short-term financing to buy back Srithai’s own bonds. Latham said that he informed his colleague, Sudip Thakor (‘Thakor’), who then passed on this information to various people, including Harvey. Harvey apparently told Thakor to tell Chan, who also knew about it, to purchase Srithai’s bonds.
When Thakor informed Latham what he had done, Latham told Thakor that this amounted to insider trading and expressed his protest in response to what Thakor had done. Although the bonds were eventually not purchased by CSFB, the judicial commissioner felt that the information obtained by Latham was market sensitive and should not have been divulged by Thakor to Harvey or Chan, who was CSFB’s chief trader, as it amounted to insider trading.
Latham thus alleged that Harvey wanted Latham to be dismissed because he was very angry, for all the wrong reasons, about this incident. In response, CSFB contended that what Thakor, Chan and Harvey had done did not amount to insider trading.
Apparently Latham felt that he was fired because he had stepped on too many toes, too many times. One of the people Latham felt that his superiors didn’t like him crossing was Chan.