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By Nishant Kumar and Simon Jessop
LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) - Former global head of foreign exchange at Citigroup, Anil Prasad, is preparing to launch his own hedge fund in the first quarter of 2015, three sources familiar with the matter said.
The launch comes as global regulatory changes restrict banks from trading with their own money, prompting so-called proprietary desk traders to strike out on their own. Prasad left Citi earlier this year.
He will be joined by Farhang Mehregani, the former chief investment officer of Sciens Alternative Investments as one of the partners, two of the sources said.
The hedge fund will have operations in New York and London and follow global macro trading strategy. Such funds focus on major economic trends and bet anywhere they see value, including stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and derivatives markets.
Sources could not estimate the fund's start-up capital as the plan is at an early stage. The duo has yet to register the firm and get regulatory clearances.
Industry tracker Eurekahedge estimates that macro hedge funds manage about $170 billion globally, a small but rapidly growing hedge fund strategy in the nearly $3 trillion industry.
The sources declined to be named as the launch plan was not yet public. Prasad, who was appointed global head of foreign exchange & local markets in February 2007, could not be reached for a comment.
Mehregani, also a former Citigroup executive until 2011, left Sciens at the end of June, records with the UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority show.
Dozens of other traders have left banks to start their own hedge fund or join existing funds since the financial crisis began in 2008, including Vincent Craignou, former global head of foreign exchange and metal derivatives at HSBC, who joined Brevan Howard Asset Management in December last year.
Macro hedge fund start-ups this year includes Guard Capital in Hong Kong headed by Leland Lim, former co-head of macro trading for Asia Pacific ex-Japan at Goldman Sachs, and Allan Bedwick, the former head of macro trading in Asia for Noble Group. (Reporting by Nishant Kumar and Simon Jessop; Editing by Laura Noonan)