News round-up: BAAM’s head of hedge fund seeding to join Angelo Gordon; SBAI report stresses need for leadership buy in around D&I; CFTC’s Berkowitz tapped up for SEC GC role; Options boost North America presence with Toronto hub

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BAAM’s head of hedge fund seeding to join Angelo Gordon

Angelo Gordon has recruited the former co-head of Blackstone Alternative Asset Management (BAAM)’s strategic capital group as its Chief Strategy Officer.

Scott Soussa, who also held a Senior Managing Director role at Blackstone and led its hedge fund seeding business, will join the $44bn alternatives fund in April 2022.

Soussa will report to Josh Baumgarten and Adam Schwartz, Angelo Gordon’s co-Chief Executive Officers.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Scott’s calibre join Angelo Gordon,” said Baumgarten. “Scott brings unparalleled insights and perspectives into the alternative investment management sector and we look forward to his contributions as we continue to execute on our strategic priorities.”

Soussa is the first senior appointment made by Baumgarten and Schwartz since they assumed the co-CEO roles on 1 January this year as part of a leadership transition that saw co-founder Michael Gordon step back from the day-to-day management of the firm.

Soussa has spent the past two decades at Blackstone. Most recently, he helped build Blackstone’s successful GP stakes business, and has also led the firm’s hedge fund seeding business since 2016.

Prior to joining Blackstone in 2003, Soussa was Controller of Lava Trading Inc., a securities trading technology company.

SBAI report stresses need for leadership buy in around D&I

Accountability from senior leadership and aligning internal and external communication are two of the key strategies funds should employ when creating a culture of diversity and inclusion,  according to a report from the Standards Board for Alternative Investments (SBAI).

As part of the organisation’s Culture and Diversity Initiative, the SBAI launched its ‘Principles of Culture and Diversity Strategies’ report , which identified five key principles that fund managers could integrate into their business model.

These included leadership taking responsibility for driving the diversity and culture agenda forward; setting a strategy that is aligned with business goals; aligning internal and external communications; reviewing existing policies; and evaluating people based on their skills required for inclusion.

The SBAI recently formed a Global Advisory Committee comprising senior asset managers and allocators, providing guidance on the aims and goals of the Culture and Diversity efforts of SBAI members.

Chair of the Global Advisory Committee and CEO of Martlet Asset Management,  Jane Buchan, said: “We are thrilled to have a large and committed group of industry leaders helping guide our efforts on culture and diversity.

“As asset managers and allocators, we must work collaboratively to solve for better and the SBAI provides a great platform to do this.”

Read the full report here.

CFTC’s Berkowitz tapped up for SEC GC role 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has unveiled Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Dan Berkowitz as its new General Counsel.

Berkowitz replaces John Coates who will return to a teaching role at Harvard University. Berkowitz will take on the role on 1 November, with SEC Solicitor Michael Conley heading up the position as Acting General Counsel until that time.

Berkowitz, who has been in the Commissioner role at the CFTC since September 2018, was unanimously confirmed to the SEC by the US Senate. Before the CFTC, he served at law firm WilmerHale as partner and co-chair for the futures and derivatives practice. Berkowitz was also an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University Law School and vice-chair of the American Bar Association Committee focusing on Derivatives and Futures Law. Prior to that, he served as the CFTC’s General Counsel from the years 2009 to 2013.

"Dan is a dedicated public servant and was instrumental in both informing and implementing the Dodd-Frank Act,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “As General Counsel, he navigated the CFTC through dozens of rulemakings to enhance regulatory oversight of the swaps markets, and he has remained a steadfast public servant as a Commissioner. He will be invaluable in our work at the SEC."

Options boost North America presence with Toronto hub

Trading infrastructure provider Options has expanded into Canada with the opening of an office in Toronto.

Options said the location would provide ‘a strong foothold’ for the company to develop support for clients across regional Canadian markets.

Former Scotiabank executive Robert Strawbridge has been appointed to manage the Toronto office, as he takes on the role of VP Head of Canada. In addition to client support, he is responsible for the expansion of Options' client base alongside the management and recruitment of staff in the region.

“The Toronto region has emerged as a North American leader in the convergence of financial services and technology,” said Toronto Mayor, John Tory. “International businesses are choosing to invest in the region, leveraging the fastest-growing tech talent pool in North America. I’m thrilled that Options will call Toronto home, with one of the most educated and diverse workforces in the world – creating jobs for our talented residents and contributing to regional economic recovery and growth.”

In 2019, Options received investment from Boston-based Private Equity Firm, Abry Partners, to gain a stronger foothold in key financial centres across the world.

Stephanie Taylor

Head of Event Content, HFM

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