Secretive Hedge Fund Raises $1 Billion to Make Big Leveraged Bets

Eisler Capital, one of Europe’s most secretive hedge funds, has raised about $1 billion for a new money pool that plans to use leveraged bets to juice its track record of reliable single-digit returns.

The Eisler Capital Multi Strategy Fund is the region’s second-largest hedge fund launch this year and started trading on July 1, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. The fund aims to leverage its bets by as much as four times to achieve gains of 12-15%, according to an investor document seen by Bloomberg.

A spokesman for the London-based investment firm declined to comment.

The launch marks Eisler’s formal entry into the multi-strategy sector, where it will compete for capital and talent with industry giants such as Millennium Management and Citadel. Such funds are run by dozens of traders making bets across asset classes, instead of an investment chief making the calls. They’ve been the most popular strategy this year, with investors pouring $20 billion into such funds in the first five months, according to eVestment data.

The move also signals a new approach at Eisler, whose roots are in macro trading, with its main fund offering up to just 1.3 times leverage and a focus on not losing money. Since its launch in 2016, the Eisler Capital Master Fund has gained an annualized 6% through May with no down year, according to the investor document. That compares with an average annual 6.6% return among all hedge fund peers.

The new leveraged fund could potentially have gained 25.3% last year compared with the main fund’s 8% return, according to the firm’s back-testing of the strategy with three times leverage and fees, it said in the investor presentation. The maximum monthly loss since the firm’s founding would have been 3.5% versus 1.4% for the master fund.

Hedge funds often differentiate themselves from traditional investment products such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds by loading up on leverage to sweeten returns. That’s been a key reason for firms such as billionaire Michael Platt’s BlueCrest Capital Management posting blockbuster gains, but also behind the collapse of Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management recently.

“We believe Eisler Capital’s investment style and risk management frameworks lends itself to increased leverage and further portfolio manager diversification,” the firm told clients.

Like many multi-strategy peers, Eisler’s new fund will charge clients a so-called pass-through fee rather than the traditional management fee demanded by its main money pool. Such fees allow hedge funds to recoup all the costs of running the strategy and provide resources to hire and retain top trading talent.

Edward Eisler, the former co-head of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s global securities unit, setup his eponymous investment firm in 2015 and started trading his first fund a year later with about $1 billion in one of the largest startups in Europe that year. The firm has grown to now manage $4.5 billion with 27 teams of portfolio managers, according to the document.

Eisler recently opened an office in Milan and plans to expand to New York as it looks to boost its investment team, the person said.

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