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George Soros snaps up GLG hedgefund star Robert Donald

Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Author: Times Online.co.uk

GLG Partners, the London-based hedge fund, is on the point of losing a star fund manager this weekend in a situation that mirrors the high-profile departure of another top manager, Greg Coffey, last year.

Robert Donald, who manages part of the $1.5 billion (£1.3 billion) European fund with Pierre Lagrange, is planning to leave GLG after six years to work with the legendary financier George Soros.

However, sources close to New York-listed GLG said the situation was still live. “He has not formally resigned, though he has indicated his desire to leave,” one said.

Donald, an award-winning strategist, is understood to be joining the London office of Soros Fund Management where he will build up and manage a European equities fund. He will report to Keith Anderson, the group’s chief investment officer.

An industry insider said of Donald: “He is the real deal. This is a huge psychological loss for the firm, especially after losing Coffey.”

In the past few days lawyers from both sides have been negotiating the terms of Donald’s departure. GLG will be looking for guarantees that he will not poach any of his colleagues or investors.

The Sunday Times this year reported that Soros, who famously made $1 billion betting against the pound in 1992, was stepping up business in London when he opened an affiliate office in Mayfair.

Soros Fund Management, which has $19 billion of assets under management, previously had just a shell in London used for marketing purposes. The new Mayfair office will house fund managers, traders and back-office staff.

Donald was among a handful of GLG traders awarded a share in a $150m windfall when the group floated in 2007. Half of the payout had to be reinvested in the fund for a certain time, though it is unclear how much of this fortune Donald will forsake by resigning. Coffey sacrificed $250m in GLG shares that he could have cashed in had he stayed on for a further five years.

GLG’s share price fell by more than 15% when news of Coffey’s resignation became public last year. Donald could not be reached for comment.