Moore Capital manager Coffey to retire: sources

BOSTON/LONDON Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:58pm EDT

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BOSTON/LONDON (Reuters) - Greg Coffey, who spent decades investing money at some of the world's biggest and best-known hedge funds, is leaving Moore Capital and plans to retire from the industry, three sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

The 41-year old Australian, who oversaw several portfolios at the $15 billion firm from London, told investors by letter that the demands of his job were colliding with his desire to spend more time with his wife and children.

Coffey was not involved in managing the firm's flagship portfolio, which is run by Louis Bacon, the firm's founder.

Speaking of the sort of focus that is required to run a top-notch portfolio, Coffey said he could no longer dedicate himself to the global markets the way he had in the past, explaining his decision to leave the industry.

Coffey joined Moore four years ago and spent much of his time monitoring markets around the world as head of the GC Emerging Macro Fund, often trading during the middle of the night, people who know him said.

Moore will liquidate one of Coffey's funds, which had roughly $100 million in assets, while Eric Dannheim, Coffey's long-time deputy, will manage the other two.

The news of Coffey's retirement comes only weeks after Bacon surprised investors by announcing that he would be shrinking his own fund by a quarter and returning some $2 billion. Bacon, who earned billions by successfully navigating global markets for decades, told investors he was finding fewer places to invest.

While Coffey is leaving, Bacon, 56, has told investors he has no plans of retiring even as he freely acknowledges how Europe's ongoing debt crisis is making it more difficult to find market winners.

Bacon brought Coffey to Moore four years ago as the firm's co-CIO of European business after the trader made his name at hedge fund GLG, overseeing some $7 billion in assets. Coffey made a splash when he quit GLG and reportedly turned down a $250 million bonus for 2008 after having earned $300 million the previous year.

While Coffey boasts an enviable record, having returned an annualized 22 percent since 2004, he hit a rough patch last year when his bearish outlook on emerging markets caused his fund to lose more than many similar funds. He subsequently stepped down from running Moore's main emerging markets portfolio.

Even then, speculation mounted about how long Coffey might stay with Bacon at Moore even as the men assured investors that they continued to work together closely.

At that point some funds were branded the Greg Coffey funds, signaling to some investors that he might be eager to establish himself apart from the Moore firm. This year his GC Emerging Macro fund, which will be liquidated, is off about 2 percent but had a very strong September, rising 8.7 percent, a person familiar with the numbers said.

For investors, the news of Coffey's departure did not make a huge impact, said one person who has money with Louis Bacon but is not permitted to speak publicly because the fund is private.

"Louis is cutting back on assets and there will be changes, but this isn't going to make a big difference," the person said. (Editing by Ingrid Melander and Dan Grebler)

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