Senior bank trader quits for BlueCrest, lasts eight months and then re-emerges at prop trading firm

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The former head of European index and equity products trading at Commerzbank in London, who quit in November last year to join BlueCrest Capital Management as a partner, lasted just eight months at the hedge fund and has now been hired by a London-based derivatives prop trading firm.

Emmanuel Kreutzberger, who spent five years as head of European index and equity products at Commerzbank, joined BlueCrest as a partner and portfolio manager late last year. He left the hedge fund, which has a reputation for being a ‘sink or swim’ employer, in June after just eight months there.

He’s now re-emerged as a trader at derivatives market-maker Liquid Capital Group. The firm, set up in 2000 by brothers Chris and Gregg Siepman, trades options on the behalf asset managers, banks and hedge funds, and now has around 170 staff across offices in London, Chicago, Sydney and Chengdu in China.

Liquid Capital has 76 employees in London, according to its latest accounts for 2016 filed in August on Companies House, 31 of which work in trading functions. It paid an average of £108.4k per head last year.

BlueCrest has been making some deep cuts to its UK headcount over the past two years. It had 337 people in London at the end of 2016, according to its latest accounts, down from 426 in 2015 – or a reduction of 21% on the previous year.

BlueCrest rebranded itself as a family office, managing the wealth of its partners rather than clients, in late 2015, but has continued with its tendency to hire top traders from investment banks. They don’t always work out. As CFO Andrew Dodd has said in the past: “If we don’t like a trader’s risk, then departures can be quite abrupt.”

Over the course of this year, departures have continued. Christian Dalban, the former head of equities trading at Nomura, who joined Bluecrest in 2013 to head up equities trading, left in June, while Derek Flynn, its EMEA head of equity execution, left shortly after in July. Eric Childs, a portfolio manager within BlueCrest’s rates and FX team in New York, left to head up U.S. dollar swaps trading at Barclays in August.

Nonetheless, despite the recent cuts it has continued to bring in some big names. Guillaume Rabate, the 28-year-old U.S. dollar interest rates trader at Morgan Stanley named in the Forbes’ 30 under 30 in finance list in 2016, joined as a portfolio manager last month. Scott Cowling, head of market structure and electronic trading at BlackRock, joined in September. Philippe Haik, a senior short-term interest rate (STIRT) trader at Nomura, also joined BlueCrest as a partner in late September.

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