Paul Rubens, regional managing director at Banc One Investment Advisors, has quit to join a hedge fund, Blackhorse Asset Management. The Tokyo-based industry vet is now moving to Singapore to join Blackhorse's founders, John Engle and Jonathan Ross.

He says his departure is not related to Chicago-based Banc One's announced merger with JPMorgan Chase. "We've been talking for over a year," Rubens says. "I've known John Engle for 15 years. The merged company [Banc One-JPMorgan] will be a huge organization with lots of opportunities, but now I have the opportunity to be an owner and control the business. I'm also looking forward to being more involved in Asia ex-Japan."

Rubens had served with Banc One for about 18 months, helping the bank launch its regional asset management business. The organization raised $800 million from Japanese and Asian clients since then, mainly for its US fixed-income products, leveraging the bank parent's regional relationships.

Before joining Banc One, Rubens had spent seven years with Alliance Capital, four of them in Tokyo, and from 1995 to 1998 as CEO of Alliance's Taiwan joint venture with Fareast Group and Sun Hung Kai.

Clifford Chiu in Hong Kong will now assume Rubens' regional MD role for the team.

At Blackhorse, Rubens will become the third partner, and be responsible for operations and risk management, as well as some business development work. Blackhorse is an Asian equities long/short strategy that has only recently begun marketing. It now has $15 million under management. The past two years have been dedicated to establishing a performance track record, based on fundamental research-driven investment.

Goldman Sachs is the prime broker and HSBC the administrator.

Blackhorse's founder, Engle, was previously global head of research at WI Carr. Last year Ross joined from Goldman Sachs, where he had ran Asian technology research. Engle and Ross had worked together at HG Asia (absorbed by ABN AMRO) and WI Carr.