$17 bln Chicago hedge follows Millennium, BlueCrest in push to Dubai

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Balyasny Asset Management will open an office in Dubai, the latest hedge fund to expand to the emirate.

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The $17 billion firm will start operations in the city in the first quarter of next year, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Balyasny is taking space in the ICD Brookfield Place and its office is initially set up to accommodate 20 people, the person said, asking not to be identified because the details are private.

The multi-strategy hedge fund, which relies on groups of traders to bet across asset classes, is the latest to turn to Dubai, which is drawing some of the world’s biggest investment firms to its shores after already attracting crypto firms, property investors and Russian billionaires.

Izzy Englander’s Millennium Management has more than two dozen people working for him in Dubai, while Michael Gelband’s ExodusPoint Capital Management, one of the largest multi-strategy hedge funds, is expanding in the city.

Michael Platt’s private investment firm BlueCrest Capital Management is also building a presence.

Brexit has spurred many funds to seek new bases outside the City of London, while other traders have fled Hong Kong’s strict Covid restrictions. And with living costs soaring around the world, Dubai’s tax-free welcome mat is also appealing.

Balyasny’s decision was driven by demand from existing and prospective portfolio managers, some of whom have already signed up to move to the city, the person said.

Traders specializing in strategies across equities, macro, credit and commodities will be housed in Dubai’s trading center and support staff gradually added.

The move underlines the increasing competition for the best trading talent among investment firms as trading opportunities grow and investors migrate toward larger hedge funds, with multi-strategy firms on the cusp of becoming the biggest players in the industry.

Balyasny, which will have more than 15 offices after it opens the Dubai office, now has 170 portfolio managers, up from 120 at the start of this year.

Roughly 40 percent of them are outside of North America, where the firm is headquartered. Overall headcount has expanded by 40 percent to about 1,500 people globally.

The firm’s hedge fund gained about 7.8 percent through October this year, the person said.

A spokesman for Balyasny declined to comment.

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