12/04/2013

Star Recruit Suggests Growth for Paloma

Donald Sussmanís Paloma Partners has lured Jason Huemer away from his post as president of Visium Asset Management.

Huemer is set to leave Visium at yearend, at which point he will start in Palomaís Greenwich, Conn., headquarters as a managing director in charge of marketing. He also is expected to play a major business-strategy role involving the creation of new products, although nothing is imminent on that front.

Huemerís recruitment pairs an executive with a history of leading large-scale growth initiatives with a firm that, while widely known and highly respected, manages only one hedge fund. Huemer presided over a major expansion of Visium and before that played key roles in similar efforts at firms including SAC Capital and York Capital. Paloma, meanwhile, keeps all of its $2.1 billion in its Paloma Funds vehicle.

That entity, which Sussman started trading in 1981, employs a multi-strategy approach in which it deploys capital to traders who technically operate separately from Paloma but frequently run money exclusively for the firm. It focuses on quantitative strategies, particularly statistical arbitrage, and has added several managers to its program in recent years.

Over the years, Paloma Fundsí underlying managers have included New York-based D.E. Shaw, Cyprus-based Ikos Asset Management, LMR Partners of London and the now-defunct Amaranth Advisors.

As for Huemerís responsibilities, the scope of his work appears to be broader than that of predecessor Philip Anker, who left Paloma in July to become global head of distribution at Insight Investment of London. While Anker held the title of business-development chief, his job mainly involved marketing and investor relations.

A layer down in the chain of command, investor-relations head Andreas Bauer will report directly to Huemer. On the marketing front, Huemerís efforts will no doubt involve highlighting Palomaís solid performance record. Paloma Funds gained 12% for the first 11 months of 2013, compared to a 0.7% rise in the HFRI Relative Value Index and a 6% gain in the HFRI Global Hedge Fund Index.

Huemer worked as York Capitalís chief operating officer from 1999 to 2003, then stopped at Merrill Lynch and a few other shops before latching on as head of marketing at SAC in 2005. By the time he left SAC in 2009, he had raised $6 billion for the now-troubled operation.

Huemer subsequently spent about a year at global-macro shop Atlas Capital before landing at Visium, which at the time was running $1.6 billion through a single fund with a focus on healthcare-related investments. As of this June, the New York firm was running $4.7 billion through a mix of hedge funds and a mutual fund that it launched earlier in the year.

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