Experienced credit trader and portfolio manager Iftikhar Ali
has gone live with a novel new hedge fund entrant to the
ever-growing European credit arena, with the launch of
London-based Rhodium Capital.
Ali - who has previously worked during his 20-year career as
a proprietary trader at top US banks and as a fund manager with
several leading hedge funds, and who is the firm's CIO - has
co-founded Rhodium together with CEO and chief risk officer
Tirman has also worked in the credit markets for more than
two decades. He formerly founded and ran for 16 years his own
credit-focused hedge fund firm Talisman Capital, and he also
has extensive experience and contacts in the investment banking
and asset management worlds.
Both men are well-connected in the credit space and are
significant investors in the newly-launched Rhodium Global
Credit Fund - which went live at the start of November with
initial capital of $30 million and is one of the first new
European hedge funds to be fully compliant with all aspects of
the new AIFMD requirements.
Rhodium's multi-strategy approach to credit draws on Ali's
experience both as a prop trader - where he worked for several
years as head of CDS trading at Salomon/Citi in the early
growth years of the development of the European credit and
derivatives markets, and then as head of international credit
prop trading at Bank of America - and more recently in the
hedge fund world.
Having left BofA in 2009 - after overseeing a highly
profitable operation for the bank during the credit market
meltdown in 2008 - Ali joined Moore spin-out James Caird Asset
Management as a portfolio manager for European investment grade
and emerging market credit.
He then moved to the London operation of Izzy Englander's
US-based Millennium Management, where he ran a global credit
portfolio, before most recently managing an EM credit portfolio
at Observatory - the long-running London-based credit firm that
is now part of the Stockholm-headquartered Brummer &
Partners multi-strategy hedge fund group.
Ali is supported on the investment side by experienced
quantitative and risk modelling expert Yash Ganeshan - who
previously worked in Ali's prop trading team at BofA - and by
another analyst who will join the team early in 2014 from a
major investment firm.
On the operations and business management side, Tirman is
supported by Rhys Pitt - who formerly spent eight years at Citi
Capital Advisors, the bank's hedge fund operation that recently
span out as the independent Napier Global Capital firm, and who
also previously worked at Goldman Sachs for three years - as
vice president of operations and finance. Another recruit on
the ops side will also join shortly.
Over his long career in the credit markets, Ali is
understood to have generated a stellar track record with his
evolving credit strategy - achieving an annualised return of
some 16% during the highly turbulent last eight years in the
markets, and with a Sharpe ratio in excess of 2.
He is believed to have made money in both 2008 and 2011, and
has a strong history of protecting capital through difficult
periods as well as maximising returns when conditions have been
A shadow portfolio that the team have been running since
July is said to have generated returns of almost 10% in the
four months to the end of October, net of all expenses other
than incentive fees.
The strategy is fundamentally-driven - spanning fundamental
value credit positions and more opportunistic long/short credit
trading together with relative value, capital structure
arbitrage, CDS spread arbitrage and event-related trades.
But the portfolio also combines a unique quantitative
overlay that is designed to protect the fund from unwanted
macro/external risks and isolate the desired risk/return
characteristics of the portfolio.
Although strongly rooted in European credit, Rhodium's
investment approach will take a more global opportunistic
approach in terms of primary market credit activity, including
areas such as the Middle East and Asia.
Having opted against any kind of seeding deal, Rhodium's
initial investor base comprises a diverse range of institutions
and individuals - while there is also the facility to run
segregated managed accounts for investors, so long as they are
managed pari passu with the core fund strategy.