Winton Capital has seen Charles Allard, a veteran of the UK-based hedge fund, leave his post as Asia chairman to join software firm Ve Interactive in Hong Kong, AsianInvestor has learned.
His departure comes as the $25 billion managed futures manager embarks on an expansion push, and follows the February exit of Winton chief executive Tony Fenner-Leitão.
There are currently no plans to replace Allard, a spokesman told AsianInvestor. “But Winton is expanding in the region, in the sense that we’re opening offices in Sydney and Tokyo this year”, he added, in addition to setting up a New York outpost.
Allard joined Winton in 2006 to lead business development in Japan, helping it to become the firm’s second largest market after the US. While remaining largely based in London, he took the role of head of Asian sales in 2009.
Allard relocated to Hong Kong in 2009 when Winton opened its first foreign office in the city, and gained the title of Asia chairman the same year. His remit saw him head the Hong Kong office and oversee Winton's business development in the Far East and Australasia.
According to Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission records, Allard ceased to be a responsible officer of Winton after April 2. He could not be reached for comment by AsianInvestor.
In the newly created role of Asia CEO at Ve Interactive, a UK-based provider of electronic commerce software, Allard will oversee upcoming office launches in Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia. He is based in the firm’s Hong Kong office, which opened this week.
Meanwhile, Winton founder and executive chairman David Harding has replaced Leitão as CEO, gaining greater control of the firm as it expands overseas.
Winton plans to hire up to 100 new employees by the year end, increasing its headcount by 25%, says the firm's spokesman. They will include sales staff, researchers and data analysts.
The hedge fund also reportedly plans to launch five new funds, of which two will be long-only mutual funds. Its extension to the mutual fund sector reflects the difficult market conditions for managed futures firms, also known as commodity trading advisors (CTAs).
CTAs globally were down an average of -0.45% in 2013, according to Eurekahedge. Many managers of these strategies, which rely on proprietary algorithms to predict trading trends, have struggled to make gains as post-crisis government intervention in markets has thrown off computer models.
Winton’s flagship Futures Fund did relatively well last year, reportedly gaining 9.5%. However, its long-only Global Equity Fund had more than three times those returns with 29.8%.