Elliott’s top London trader leaves hedge fund

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The head trader at Elliott Management in London has left the firm, said people with direct knowledge of the move, the latest departure of a long-serving member from the $59bn US hedge fund’s main European office.

James Bayliss left early this month, the people said, and has become the latest veteran to depart the London operations in the past 18 months. Almost all of those who have left were close associates of Gordon Singer, the son of Elliott’s 79-year-old founder Paul Singer.

While the elder Singer has built the firm from New York, Gordon, 49, has long run the London outfit, which is known for its activist shareholder campaigns at companies including the UK’s GSK and Germany’s Fresenius. At Elliott, Gordon Singer holds the titles of equity partner and managing partner alongside US-based investor Jesse Cohn. Jonathan Pollock is the firm’s co-chief executive and co-chief investment office, alongside Paul Singer.

Insiders are playing down the impact of the departures, insisting they are part of a natural turnover within the firm. The hedge fund’s global head of trading remains Steve Cohen, who is based in Connecticut.

As head trader, Bayliss would typically focus on executing trades on behalf of the firm and oversee relationships with brokers and bank trading desks.

Elliott Management’s London operations have included high-profile activist shareholder campaigns © Charlie Bibby/FT

Bayliss worked at Elliott for nearly 20 years, according to his LinkedIn and Bloomberg bios, and owned 6.36 per cent of Elliott’s UK arm at the end of 2022, according to company filings.

The other London exits have included senior portfolio manager Mark Levine in November 2022 and portfolio manager Sebastien de La Riviere in January. Levine was a close ally of Gordon Singer and owned 15.94 per cent of Elliott’s UK operation, the people said.

Portfolio managers Mark Wills and Giorgio Furlani also departed last year. The latter, however, left to run AC Milan football club, which is backed by the hedge fund. Both executives held a small percentage of Elliott’s London operation as of the end of 2022, according to company filings.

The departures mean that Nabeel Bhanji remains as the only senior portfolio manager in the London office who is focused on Elliott’s activist investing strategies. Other senior personnel in the London office include James Stott, who is head of global real estate, and Paul Best, who runs European private equity.

The firm also recently announced in a letter to investors that Tom Houlbrooke, who is based in London, will replace US-based Eric Todrys as head of global commodities. Todrys is retiring from the firm at the end of the year, the letter said.

Elliott’s most recent UK accounts for the period until the end of 2022 show that staff increased 17 per cent to 124 people. Elliott employed 555 people globally as of June, according to the company’s website. Sales in the UK office was £225.3mn, up from £194.6mn the previous year.

The hedge fund was up roughly 5.2 per cent for the year as of the end of October, and finished up 5 per cent last year, according two people who had seen the numbers.

Elliott Management and Bayliss declined to comment.

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