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Banks and hedge funds fight for macro traders in Hong Kong

Hedge funds and investment banks are fighting over top trading talent in Hong Kong after a strong year for macro desks.

Volatility has meant big returns for some funds while investment banks are looking to beef up their trading operations in fixed income commodities and currencies (FICC) as they look for growth as their corporate finance businesses underperform.

Huatai Financial Holdings is building a macro distribution team in Hong Kong under Kurt Zhang who is head of the FICC sales team, according to traders.

Meanwhile sources say that Millennium Management, the US investment management firm with $53bn of assets under manamgent has been plucking talent from investment banks.  The fund is also looking to make further quant hires Hong Kong, according to recent job postings.  Jonathan Xiong, Co-CEO for Asia said in recent post that Millennium is hiring researchers, developers and portfolio managers in the city.

Hedge fund Bluecrest Capital Management is also expanding its macro effort, and looking hire FX and rates traders in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The result is pushing pressure on investment banks, with BNP Paribas recently among the those losing mid-level Hong Kong-based rates traders to hedge funds, according to headhunters.  “Banks need to fill the gaps as well as expanding their own offerings,” said one Hong Kong-based headhunter. 

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