02/16/2011

York Recruits Traders to Head Equity Desk

York Capital has nabbed investment staffers from Sigma Capital and Meru Capital to take over as co-heads of equity trading, filling a position vacated by one of York's most senior executives.

Edward Zatorski retired this month as head of equities trading after 15 years at the $14.9 billion hedge fund firm. To fill his shoes, York recruited Sean Holub from Sigma and Zachary Williams from Meru. Zatorski will continue working for a while on a consulting basis to ensure a smooth transition.

“When there were four employees at York, Ed was one of them,” said a person close to the firm. “This was a very, very comprehensive search that went on for many months.”

Sigma is a New York unit of SAC Capital, the Stamford, Conn., hedge fund operation headed by Steve Cohen. Meru, founded by alumni of Old Lane Partners, was one of the largest launches of 2009.

At York, Holub and Williams head a team of six equities traders who share the trading floor with two credit specialists. Investment decisions are made by event-driven equities chief Michael Weinberger, chief investment officer Daniel Schwartz and firm founder Jamie Dinan, who sit on the trading floor and field ideas from a cadre of 50 analysts.

“The trading team is responsible for information flows to the decision makers,” the source said. “They let them know what is being offered, how it's trading. They are very actively involved in execution around these investment ideas.”

The multi-strategy York Capital Management fund gained upwards of 40% in 2009 and better than 7% last year. It was up another 1.5% in January. Since 1991, the fund has posted an average annual return of nearly 16%.

Although York stumbled during the financial crisis, the firm decided not to impose “gate provisions” restricting withdrawals. As markets stabilized, investors returned in droves, helping to increase York's assets under management by some $6 billion over the past two years.

Dinan founded York in 1991 after stints at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and hedge fund firm Kellner, DiLeo & Co. In September, York announced a deal to sell a 30% stake to Credit Suisse for $425 million.

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