Merger Arbitrage: the Puzzle Capital example

Opalesque TV – Backstage

Set up as a family office by renowned French hedge fund entrepreneurs, Jean-Louis Juchault and David Obert, Puzzle Capital launched the Abrax Merger Arbitrage Fund in 2011. The fund is managed by Xavier Robinson, a merger arb manager with a strong pedigree and extensive experience of the strategy over the last 20 years. Since launch in May 2011, the fund has had no negative years and has generated double digit annualized net returns. As of the end of November 2015, the fund is up 21% YTD. The fund will look to soft close at $350/400m and to hard close at $500m.

Xavier says the single most important aspect of merger arb is to avoid “deal breaks”, as it takes ten successful investments to make up the performance loss caused by one deal break. Xavier and his team have invested in over 600 deals, but have only experienced one (!) deal break since launch. This stellar track record is in part a team effort and also a reflection of Xavier’s deep skills in prop trading, portfolio management, and investment banking.

In this Opalesque.TV BACKSTAGE video, hear Xavier and Jean-Louis speak about: The criteria employed by Abrax to filter deals with examples of deals that were correctly avoided How the failed merger between SHIRE and ABBVIE in Oct. 2014 is still impacting markets today, contributing to pricing inefficiencies in spreads and creating attractive opportunities A review of Puzzle’s best month and worst months The strategy outlook for merger arb

Puzzle Capital was founded by Jean-Louis Juchault and David Obert in 2009 as their family office and is regulated by the AMF in France. The two have worked together since 1989 (as MD & CEO, MD & CIO) at Barep Asset Management, a $5bn multi-strategy hedge fund. In 2001 they co-founded Systeia Capital Management which they sold in early 2008 to Credit Agricole.

Xavier Robinson has managed the Abrax fund since inception and has extensive experience of merger arbitrage investing. Xavier started his career in 1995 with BNP and then worked with Citigroup, Lehman and Dexia as a proprietary trader, fund manager and M&A banker. Xavier holds a Civil Engineering Degree from the Ecole Supérieure des Travaux Publics and an MSc in Finance from ESSEC (Paris).


London Forex Summit

A post featuring an interview with Founder and co-CEO of Saxo Bank, a Danish Investment Bank with a strong position on the business of Forex trading and trading platforms for the Retail as well as Institutional parts of this Market.

It is discussed in this video clip Saxo’s upcoming of Social Trading product and opinions on the current business environment.

The OTC Space weekly round-up

This week round up from The OTC Space. As always it is a great source of good posts on matters related to cutting edge Financial Markets, platforms derivatives and all the Risk Management, technological, regulatory and scientific issues related with Finance. Worthy….!!

Single-Dealer Platforms evolve and remain relevant

Excellent blog on trading platforms, dealing in the markets and the modern era of Digital Investment Management!


The evolving global regulatory landscape is fundamentally changing how banks operate, the returns available, the business lines and markets in which they can effectively compete, and the way in which they interact with and service their clients via their Single-Dealer Platforms.

For example, under Dodd Frank, standardised swaps trading with clients will migrate from OTC bilateral trading, over to regulated venues such as SEFs. This will see the value proposition and revenue generated for banks likewise shift from a

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Weekly Roundup | Post-Trade Processing | 4 November 2013

This post from The OTC space with some of most important links for this week on the Swaps markets landscape for this week.

Noteworthy the growing importance and critical role of technological developments in Swaps Execution Facilities, as well as the overhaul on the regulation front.

A worthy contribution, as usual from The OTC Space.


Weekly Roundup | Post-Trade Processing | 4 November 2013.

via Weekly Roundup | Post-Trade Processing | 4 November 2013.

Trading and Experience

I publish here an interview conducted at London’s Cass Business School given by Portfolio Managements Managing Partner Anton Kreil to students of Cass. Mr. Kreil was a major Investment Bank trader for years and shares some of his experiences with the audience. He also provides some advisory to anyone who wishes to become professional in trading in Investment Banks or Hedge Funds.
From pointing the need to start early in life to have some gifts and hints for the Business world to be prepared to change one’s mind set once you reach the big job, Anton Kreil is honest and sort of tries to demystify all the fuss that sometimes surrounds these big companies and businesses.

Further in the interview, Anton Kreil explains on students questions why volatility is important for someone starting trading these days, that the kind of volatility that is profitable in the Markets are in the Equities Markets and not in Forex.

He also talks about company and corporate culture, why innovation and entrepreneurship is so important in the business of Finance, and the great comparative advantage that Goldman Sachs has concerning that issue.

Interesting his take on the issue of the developments leading to the Financial Crisis, and the opinion that  a shift in corporate culture from talent and  pure business mind set to a culture thwarted by politics and greed and the hiring of untalented people to do sensitive and important jobs. He moves then to the experience at Lehman Brothers, and the way he was hired to raise the Risk profile of the Trading Desk of the Bank. He tells that he encountered a business with a transforming Risk profile and culture from conservative to maybe excessive risk taking, as well as too many people taking risks.

A more relaxed Anton Kreill talks about the work-life balance of a person working in these sectors, and even tells some stories about his personal life. The difficulty of striking the right balance may lead to humorous situations and laugh out loud stories. And….the standards of Human Capital are deteriorating and one of the reasons is the declining compensation for top talent!

In one of the last videos, Anton explains that the most talented people in the business have migrated to Hedge Funds or started their own businesses trading their own money. We learn his view of the declining standard of the Investment Banking industry as a whole, the way the new regulations are commanding a structural decline and shift to this industry, and the most talented are even leaving the Western World and finding new lives in the Emerging or Frontier Markets

To be a self-starter is an absolutely key trait that most if not every successful trader must have.

The edge of being a former trader of an Investment Bank is also fading very rapidly with the rise of Electronic and algorithmic trading, but the experience can always be important with the new Internet take on the Markets.

Winning in trading isn’t for everyone, we further learn……but the show must go on. Great interview and college moment and congratulations to Cass Business School.