October 8, 2015 / 1:15 PM / 4 years ago

BlueCrest equity hedge fund up 10 percent this year, defying stocks rout

LONDON (Reuters) - BlueCrest’s equity hedge fund has gained about 10 percent this year, data seen by Reuters showed, riding out volatile global equity market moves that have led to deep losses for many peers.

One of the biggest hedge fund firms in Europe, led by billionaire Michael Platt, it has diversified away from its core strategies focused on interest rates, fixed income and credit.

The return includes money made in August and September, when the MSCI World Index lost a tenth of its value on fears of a slowdown in China and uncertainty over an interest rate rise in the United States, inflicting heavy damages on most hedge funds betting on the rise and fall in the value of shares.

Peers, as measured by the HFRI Equity Hedge (Total) Index, lost 3.1 percent in August and 1.7 percent last month, on average, ending September down 2.2 percent for the year. By comparison, the BlueCrest Equity Strategies Fund gained 1.2 percent in the last two months, the data showed.

The fund opened to external investors in April and has since grown $1 billion in internal capital to $1.3 billion, a letter to investors at the end of August, and seen by Reuters, showed.

Ed Orlebar, a spokesman for BlueCrest, declined to comment.

The firm has hired more than two dozen separate teams spread across London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore to invest for the equity fund. The teams are led by Christian Dalban, the former global head of equities trading at Nomura.

The BlueCrest Capital International, the firm’s flagship fund managed by Platt, was down 0.8 percent through the end of September this year, recovering from a near 6 percent loss in January, partly from bets that went sour after an unexpected surge in the Swiss franc.

The firm’s multi-strategy AllBlue Fund, which manages about $7 billion, was up 2.5 percent in the nine months to September.

BlueCrest’s assets have fallen to about $8.4 billion from a peak of $37 billion in 2013 due to investor withdrawals and the loss of $8.9 billion in assets which followed Leda Braga when she set up Systematica Investments earlier this year.

Editing by Ruth Pitchford

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