UPDATE 1-Man Group hires ex-Pimco bond chief in fixed-income drive

Fri Sep 7, 2012 6:33am EDT

By Laurence Fletcher

LONDON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Man Group has hired Pimco's former global head of portfolio management Sudi Mariappa, as the embattled hedge fund firm looks to revive its fortunes and win back clients with a major push into bond funds.

Mariappa, who was at Pimco, the world's largest bond fund manager, from 2000 to 2010 and who worked with high-profile founder Bill Gross on its hedge funds, will head up the launch of a series of bond funds at Man's manager-driven GLG unit.

Big-name hedge fund firms including Man and Brevan Howard believe that bond trading is attractive at present, despite the ultra-low or negative yields on offer in some developed markets.

Funds say price movements, which they can profit from, are as big now as when interest rates were at much higher levels, while there are fewer rival traders as banks cut proprietary trading desks to comply with new regulation.

"It's about expansion, rather than running the existing business," said a Man spokesman, adding that Mariappa will act as an advisor to GLG's Chief Investment Strategist Jamil Baz.

GLG, which Man bought in 2010 in a widely-criticised $1.6 billion deal, already runs a range of credit funds as well as the Atlas macro fund, which invests in sovereign bonds.

Earlier this week Man's Systematic Strategies unit announced the launch of a computer-driven bond fund.

The hire comes as Man, whose share price has dropped by around three-quarters since the start of last year on the back of client outflows and poor fund performance, tries to regain investor confidence and improve returns.

In June it dropped its finance director, while in July it announced $100 million of cost cuts, its third wave of savings since the GLG purchase.

Man ran $52.7 billion in assets as at the end of June.

Separately, Man said Driss Ben-Brahim, co-manager of GLG's Atlas Macro fund, will take early retirement and leave the industry.