* Brevan Howard’s flagship hedge fund lost 0.82 pct in 2014
* First decline in a calendar year since launch in 2003
* Rivals gained 3.23 pct - Eurekahedge data (Adds details, background)
By Nishant Kumar
LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Brevan Howard recorded the first annual loss in its flagship $24 billion macro hedge fund last year, an investor letter showed, ending an 11-year winning run that made it one of the biggest players in the $3 trillion industry.
The setback shows the challenges facing the firm after it was forced to shut two hedge funds following losses. It was also in the spotlight due to a legal battle with former trader Chris Rokos over the enforcement of a five-year non-compete agreement.
DW Partners, a credit-focused manager, also took control of more than $5 billion in assets it previously managed in two funds for Brevan Howard, a further blow for the firm.
Swiss Re and Brevan Howard declined comment on Wednesday on a report that the Zurich-based reinsurer wants to sell its stake in the fund firm.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the talks, said that Swiss Re had asked for bids by last week for a 15 percent stake in Jersey-based Brevan Howard valued at between $350 million and $500 million.
The firm, which managed about $34 billion in total in October, lost 0.15 percent in its largest Brevan Howard Fund Ltd in December, according to a letter to investors seen by Reuters, losing money in nine of the last 12 months.
The fund’s loss totalled 0.82 pct for 2014, its first decline in a calendar year since it was launched in 2003.
Brevan Howard has grown on the back of a 20 percent return in the main fund in 2008 during the global financial crisis. The last three years have been less profitable, however, as the fund gained 2.7 percent in 2013 and 3.9 percent in 2012.
Macro hedge funds, which bet on major economic trends across a range of asset classes including stocks, bonds and currencies, gained 3.23 percent last year, data from Eurekahedge showed. (Reporting by Nishant Kumar; editing by Carolyn Cohn/Keith Weir)