BlueBay Asset Management co-founder Hugh Willis has poached BlackRock’s quant team for his new fixed income boutique.
According to the Financial Times, Willis alongside ex-BlueBay chief executive Alex Khein, have launched BlueCove, a firm that will specialise in systematic trading.
Willis is also reported to have taken staff from Citadel, Robeco and Vanguard for his new venture, still pending of regulatory approval.
Benjamin Brodsky, who was deputy chief investment officer of systematic fixed income at BlackRock, joins BlueCove as head of investment, research and portfolio management.
Other former BlackRock managing directors to join BlueCove include Ralph Smith, Michael Harper, Benoy Thomas and Heather DeGarmo.
BlueCove will also count on Ian Howard as head of engineering, who joins from Citadel, where he worked as head of technology for global quantitative strategies.
Jeroen van Zundert has joined from Robeco as a quantitative researcher, while Nick Pierce – formerly head of fixed income in Europe for Vanguard – has been appointed as head of the investment process group at BlueCove.
Willis said to the Financial Times that he believes the bond market is ripe for disruption. He commented that while around 10% of the $54tn global equities market was managed in quant strategies, just 0.2% of the $52 trillion assets in fixed income, is managed in this way.
BlueCove will focus on scientific knowledge, with more than 80 per cent of the 35 staff hired so far being able to code. The company expects to hire another five to 10 staff by the time it releases its first products in the second half of next year.