Ken Griffin Hires Two Moore Capital Veterans for Macro

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Ken Griffin hired two veteran money managers from Louis Bacon’s hedge fund as he seeks to build a rival macro business.

Marco Birch and Eric Dannheim will join Griffin’s $30 billion Citadel later this year as senior portfolio managers, spokeswoman Julia Kosygina confirmed. They will be part of the Chicago-based hedge fund’s macro strategies business, which was started in early 2018, and report to group head Colin Lancaster.

Citadel, which trades across multiple markets, has been expanding into macro -- betting on broad economic trends by trading everything from currencies to commodities. Last year, it hired Lancaster from Balyasny Asset Management to build a new macro-trading unit in London, and former Bank of England policymaker Kristin Forbes as a consultant. The expansion comes as the oldest macro funds have suffered from years of underperformance, shrinking assets and headcount.

Birch couldn’t be reached for comment, while a message left for Dannheim wasn’t immediately returned.

Griffin last week said that there are at least 18-to-24 months left in the market rally, thanks to the "giant adrenaline shot" of the U.S. tax overhaul. “We are in this debt-fueled buying binge," he said Sept. 26 at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York. That’s laying the seeds of the next financial crisis, he said.

Balyasny’s Moves

Rival multi-strategy fund, Balyasny, has also been making changes to its macro trading. It hired former Citadel trader Tim Wilkinson earlier this year as head of macro investing in London. The hedge fund planned to shift toward employing fewer managers who can run larger pools of money after about 10 traders left the firm earlier this year, Bloomberg reported in March.

Birch, 48, and Dannheim, 50, are Citadel’s macro group’s first hires in New York. They leave Bacon’s $10.2 billion Moore Capital Management, which has lost about $3 billion in assets since July 2017 as clients fled amid mediocre performance.

As well as trading money in the macro unit, Birch and Dannheim will also help build a research and trade-execution team for the group in New York, Kosygina said. The business has also hired Jerome Lebuchoux as head of quantitative research from Goldman Sachs to start later this year, she said.

Funds’ Returns

Birch was at Moore for 21 years after working at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley. Dannheim spent almost a decade at Moore, where he was once chief operating officer of its European business and a deputy to former trader Greg Coffey, who left in 2012 after middling returns. Dannheim had previously worked at GLG Partners.

As well as its newly-launched macro strategies group, Citadel has a global fixed income group, which also trades macro. The firm’s global fixed income fund was up 1.5 percent in September and has gained 10.2 percent this year, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The two groups trade money for Citadel’s biggest hedge funds, which have risen 13.5 percent this year, the person said.

Citadel a decade ago hired Kaveh Alamouti, also from Moore Capital, to start a macro fund, only for him to retire several years later.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.