05/30/2012

Veteran Quant Trader Preps Stat-Arb Vehicle

A high-frequency trader whose experience includes stints at Barclays and Lehman Brothers is laying the groundwork for a statistical-arbitrage fund.

Michael Bleich has set up Ophir Partners of New York with plans for a July launch. He’s expected to begin trading with an undisclosed amount of his own capital, plus “friends-and-family” money. He’s also talking to prospective investors as part of a marketing campaign that got under way last month.

Bleich currently serves as chief executive of Scout Trading, a high-frequency-trading operation he founded in 2009 with a nine-member team he spun off from Barclays. It’s unclear if he plans to continue running that New York firm as he gets the new business off the ground. Scout functions as an electronic market maker, primarily for exchange-traded funds.

Working with Bleich at Ophir is chief operating officer Robert Saffer, who previously spent seven years at J.P. Morgan in a risk-management role.

Bleich’s trading team formed at Lehman, then moved over to Barclays when it absorbed Lehman’s North American operations during the financial crisis. Saffer, too, worked at Lehman, and before that held positions at Barclays, Baring Securities and Merrill Lynch.

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