By Niki Natarajan
Rick Sopher, chief executive officer of Edmond de Rothschild
Capital Holdings, has been given full reins over the entire
$11.1 billion fund of hedge funds business of Edmond de
The role, which covers the group’s hedge fund
activity in Geneva, London, Paris and Luxembourg, comes after
the departure of three key members of the Geneva-based
operation of Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild.
It is understood that Alexandre Col – head of the
investment fund department and a member of the executive
committee of Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild
– along with portfolio managers Marc Sbeghen and
Alexandre Pini have all left the bank.
While it could not be determined by press time as to the
exact nature of the departures, the group underwent a
globalisation of the asset management and private banking
business in 2012, where for the first time a global CEO
Christophe de Backer was appointed. Until that point, the
different asset management businesses were run as separate
local entities in Paris, Geneva and London, and some believe
this could have provided the trigger for the
Benjamin de Rothschild, chairman of Edmond de Rothschild,
said of the departures: "I wish to thank Alexandre Col for his
contribution to the development of multi-management within our
group and for the fine work that he and his staff have
performed all these years."
Edmond de Rothschild was a pioneer of hedge fund investing
with the launch of Leveraged Capital Holdings in 1969, with the
founder chairman Georges Karlweis picking Sopher as his
successor in 2001.
In total, $3 billion of assets was under
Sopher’s control in London with a staff of eight,
while Col ran the Prifund Alpha range of nine funds, which was
originally launched in 2003 and now has $4 billion in assets
managed by a team of 45 in Geneva.
"My first task is tying in the Prifund Alpha business so
that we all become part of a world-class focused and united
investment team," said Sopher of his newly expanded role.
Luckily, more than 90% of the funds in the Prifund range are
known to Sopher and his London-based investment team. Both
units are invested in 30.5% of the managers, with 61.9% of
Prifund’s managers known to Sopher but not in his
portfolios and only 7.6% of the names are not known.
"We intend to do so while preserving the unique investment
committee and multi-sponsor structure of the Capital Holdings,
which has been the source of a great deal of added value and of
its longevity," added Sopher, referring to the club of talented
and experienced investors from different organsiations that
make up the Capital Holdings Funds.
The Capital Holdings Funds have one of the strongest boards
of independent experts in the hedge fund business and in may
this year appointed a new director, Abbas Zuaiter, former
partner at PWC in New York for hedge funds and for the past 10
years chief operating officer of Soros Fund Management.
Meanwhile, The Capital Holdings Fund are set to be fully
AIFMD compliant by 23 July 2014, with the funds having been
redomiciled from Curaçao to Dublin under an umbrella
structure called The Capital Holdings Funds.
Sopher, who joined Edmond de Rothschild in 1993, is the
chairman of the Capital Holdings Funds, as well as a member of
the management board of RIT Capital Partners, an investment
group presided over by Lord (Jacob) Rothschild. "I have known
Rick Sopher for over 20 years; he is highly professional and
unmatched in his field. He is very close to our family and
shares our values. I am therefore very glad he has accepted to
participate even more actively in this new stage of our
group’s development," Benjamin de Rothschild