BlueCrest partners share $50m

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Partners in BlueCrest Capital Management, a $6bn (€4.9bn) hedge fund 25% owned by Man Group, shared at least $50m last year.

Most of the payout is understood to have been split between Mike Platt and Bill Reeves, who founded the business in 2000 and own 75% of it. The $50m comes on top of 39m (€70m) in pay and dividends the two shared in 2003, and in addition to the 106m they made when Man Group bought its stake that year.

The $50m appears as a dividend in BlueCrest Capital Management Limited's accounts for the year to November 2004. In total, in local currency terms 36.8m was paid after tax in the form of "appropriations to other members of subsidiary undertakings".

Assuming Man Group received 25%, it left 27.6m for the remaining partners.

Their package eclipses that of Stanley Fink, chief executive of Man Group, who earned about 6.4m, making him one of the highest-paid chief executives of a FTSE 100 company.

This came from 3.8m in salary and bonus as well as shares and option grants worth just over 1m, and dividends of about 1.6m from his 4.5 million shares.

In the unlikely event that the BlueCrest payments were divided equally between the firm's 18 partners, they would have received just over 1.5m each.

The payout has resulted from BlueCrest's rapid growth and good performance since Man acquired its stake and it highlights the emergence of a premier league of hedge funds which earn huge fees in exchange for consistently good results.

Since the Man deal, BlueCrest's assets under management have risen by 60% to just over $6bn. Turnover increased 8% to 55m last year, and staff numbers jumped from 38 in 2003 to 63.

BlueCrest has posted annual performance of 14.6% since its launch to the end of March this year, according to Man Group's annual report. This is more than double the annual performance over five years at RMF, another hedge fund in which Man Group has a stake, and is ahead of the 4% return over the same period for the Hedge Fund Research composite funds of funds index.

Platt, 38, and Reeves, 41, are members of the group of JP Morgan alumni working in London hedge funds, alongside Rob Standing at London Diversified and Jeremy Hermann at Ferox Capital Management.

One former colleague who works for a rival hedge fund said: "Platt is one of the sharpest people in hedge funds. He has done a much better job than most at delivering consistent and strong performance."

Financial News has revealed in the past few months that the two founders of hedge fund Marshall Wace have shared 50m in pay and dividends over two years, partners in rival firm Brevan Howard shared about 70m, and Hermann, the 35-year-old founder of Ferox, earned more than 11m last year to add to the 12m he paid himself the year before.

According to Man's annual report, BlueCrest contributed $26m in fees to Man Group in the year to March 31, 2005. BlueCrest has weathered this year's difficult market conditions for the hedge fund industry. The fund told Financial News in July that its flagship $3.3bn international fund was up 4%, net of a 2% management fee and 20% performance fee.

The $1bn strategic fund, which charges performance fees of 30%, was up by about 10%, and two funds raised since the Man deal are trading up by 2.5% and 6%.

BlueCrest declined to comment. Man Group declined to comment, but said it was happy with BlueCrest's performance.

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