Eton Park Capital Management made a few strategic moves last year and into the start of this year that put it ahead of the pack. The New York fund, which has USD13 billion under management, is a go-to buysider for banks looking to price and hedge complex over-the-counter risks. It lays those risks off by combining the trades with its fundamental strategy of investing in specific countries and sectors around the world. Key counterparties include JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch and Société Générale. Over the mid to latter part of last year, its decision to remain bullish on Brazil, China, Korea and Hong Kong, embedding that view in long vol, short correlation products, was a huge home run. It also tipped equity to trade in a wide but pre-determined range earlier this year before trending down, which paid off via a series of inexpensive strikes it placed around those thresholds.
Eric Mindich, the former co-head of equities at Goldman Sachs and chair of the asset managers committee within the U.S. President's Working Group, set up the fund in 2004 and still models the shop's principal operations on Goldman's set-up now. Its approach is a multi-disciplinary, rather than multi-strategy one, relying on a single fund, with no carve-outs, so every idea competes for a place. Omar Saeed, who started in quant research at Salomon Smith Barney, now heads up equity derivatives trading for the firm, including indices and its single stock volatility book. Damien Charveriat is its head of European derivatives. Its fund, made up of onshore and offshore components, returned 27% last year.
* BlueMountain Capital Management * CQS Management