Sopher to head Edmond de Rothschild’s entire $11bn FoHF business

July 07, 2014  

  Rick Sopher

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 Rothschild.

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 team’s exit.

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 added.

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