News round-up: AQR GC departs for Crypto role; Franklin Templeton boosts alts range with dual launch; HSBC unveils alternatives units rebrand

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AQR GC departs for Crypto role

Cryptocurrency trading firm GSR has poached legal and compliance experts from AQR and JP Morgan to its team.

The London-based firm has named Eva Sanchez as its first Chief Legal Officer and Member of its Executive Team. GSR also hired former J.P. Morgan compliance executive Eugene Ferrara as its Chief Compliance Officer.

Sanchez joins GSR from the London office of quant giant AQR Capital Management, where she led its international legal and compliance operations. Prior to AQR, as EMEA General Counsel and Head of Compliance, she oversaw the growth of Citadel’s hedge fund and market making businesses.

Ferrara was formerly an Executive Director at JP Morgan in its Markets Compliance Group where he also served as Chief Compliance Officer for their swap dealer business. Prior to that he was at Morgan Stanley and oversaw compliance for their futures and options trading operations.

“We are very pleased to be attracting great talent from top tier institutions. These individuals are choosing GSR to pursue the extensive growth and leadership opportunities that the digital asset market provides,” said Cris Gil, Co-Founder of GSR. “Many of us played a role in the modernization of the commodities and derivatives markets in the early 2000s and we want to bring the same sophistication to an asset class that institutions are now embracing.

“Eva and Eugene are highly respected in the industry and we are excited to bring them onboard and have them help GSR lead its efforts to further instil the controls, structure and regulatory rigor that will drive our industry forward.”

Founded in 2013, GSR operates in digital asset trading, providing liquidity, risk management and structured products to institutional participants in the digital asset ecosystem.


Franklin Templeton boosts alts range with dual launch

Franklin Templeton has added two new UCITS funds to its alternatives funds range, targeting European investors.

The Luxembourg-based investment giant unveiled its Franklin K2 Cat Bond UCITS Fund and Franklin K2 Athena Risk Premia UCITS Fund, bringing the number of liquid alternatives strategies in its Franklin Templeton Alternatives Funds (FTAF) range to eight. Both funds will be registered in 11 European countries, including Germany, France, Italy and the UK.

The investment objective of the Franklin K2 Cat Bond fund is to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns and compelling current income over time with limited correlation to other asset classes through investment in a portfolio of natural catastrophe bonds, said the firm. Meanwhile, the Franklin K2 Athena Risk Premia fund aims to achieve long-term capital appreciation with lower volatility relative to broader equity markets and substantially less correlation to traditional asset classes over a full market cycle by pursuing various risk premia strategies.

“Since the launch of our flagship fund in 2013, we have experienced growing demand for K2 Advisors’ full suite of investment research and management capabilities, along with risk and performance analytics services, in a transparent and liquid UCITS structure,” said Bill Santos, Senior Managing Director, K2 Advisors. “We are continuing to see client demand for advisory, portfolio completion and hedge fund manager access services.”

The Franklin K2 Cat Bond fund is managed by Jonathan Malawer, Managing Director, Head of ILS, Commodities and Environmental Strategies. The Franklin K2 Athena Risk Premia fund is managed by Paul Fraynt, Head of Alternative Risk Premia. Both are based in New York.

The two new funds follow the recent launch of the Franklin K2 Emso Emerging Markets UCITS Fund in December 2020.


HSBC unveils alternatives units rebrand

HSBC Asset Management has combined its alternatives teams under one umbrella business unit, HSBC Alternatives.

The rebranded division will see a 150-person strong team created, with combined assets under management and advice of $53 billion.

HSBC Alternatives will comprise HSBC Alternatives Investments (HAIL), including the multi-manager Hedge Fund and Private Market teams, as well as the firm’s Private Debt, Venture Capital and direct Real Estate teams, with existing capabilities in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong and the US.

Joanna Munro, currently Global CIO, will lead the new combined unit, reporting directly to Nicolas Moreau as a member of his Management Committee. Munro was appointed Global CIO in 2019 and has been with HSBC Asset Management since 2005, with responsibilities including CEO Multi-Manager and CEO Asia Pacific. She will continue to be based in London.

“I’m looking forward to leading the growth of HSBC Alternatives and bringing the benefits of alternatives asset classes to new and existing clients,” said Munro. “Alongside sustainable and impact strategies, such as Climatech, we will also look to grow our capabilities in Asia.”

Xavier Baraton, currently Global CIO for Fixed Income, Private Debt & Alternatives, will succeed Munro as Global CIO. He will join the Management Committee and continue to be based in Paris.

HSBC said its alternatives assets have doubled over the past four years and the creation of a single business unit was ‘the next step’ in its strategy to reposition the business as a core solutions provider and specialist Asia, emerging markets and alternatives asset manager.

Stephanie Taylor

Head of Event Content, HFM

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