Top trader to go it alone

Greg Coffey, one ofthe hedge fund industry's top performers, looks set to start his own firm when he leaves London-based GLG Partners in October.

Coffey, who resigned last week – forfeiting a bonus reportedly worth around $250 million (Dh917m) – after last-minute talks with GLG about his future, has delivered performance in his specialist area of emerging markets that many managers can only dream of.

"He's regarded by colleagues and peers as one of the most successful managers in that space," said one hedge fund executive.

The 37-year-old Australian, who joined GLG in 2003 from a hedge fund backed by industry legend George Soros and now runs more than $7 billion of the New York-listed company's $24.6bn of assets, won the Fund of the Year award at the EuroHedge Awards for 2007 for his GLG Emerging Markets fund. This was earned through a detailed knowledge of markets he invests in and an avoidance of areas he doesn't know, as well as his use of all types of financial instruments and his control of downside risks. He also embraces an active trading style, somewhat at odds with his more laid-back appearance – like many hedge fund managers he regularly wears jeans and T-shirt to work.

"He's a very, very active trader, willing to take all the chips from the table and put them on a week later," the executive who had worked alongside Coffey said. Performance in recent years has been consistently high.

His fund delivered stellar returns of around 50 per cent in 2007 and 60 per cent in 2006.

"He's done particularly well, last year and the year before. Fifty per cent-plus returns both years is very difficult to do.

"His performance has been outstanding," Neil Wilson, editorial director at information provider HedgeFund Intelligence, told Reuters.

Such performance has delivered handsome rewards -– Coffey earned an estimated $300m last year, according to Alpha magazine, and lives in the upmarket London area of Chelsea.

However, the polite and softly spoken married father of two is not one to chase after the limelight, preferring to spend time with his family.

As one friend who asked not to be named because of his connection to Coffey said: "He doesn't enjoy the spotlight." (Reuters)


50%: Return in 2007 for Coffey-managed fund

$300m: Estimate of Coffey's earnings last year