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Last October, Citadel LLC’s Surveyor Capital unit suddenly fired several portfolio managers at once.
In the preceding five months, half of Surveyor’s portfolio managers had either been fired or resigned. In May, Todd Barker, the head of Surveyor Capital himself, departed after 16 years at the firm.
His timing was good. All hell was about to break loose.
In November, just after the mass firings at Surveyor, Morgan Stanley’s head of block trading suddenly stopped showing up for work. The trader, Pawan Passi, had been put on leave due to a federal investigation of his conduct, Bloomberg later reported.
Passi and Morgan Stanley are under investigation for allowing hedge funds to front run large block trades of stock. A tip-off from Passi could let a hedge fund buy or sell right before a big institution, locking in profits and giving the institution a worse price.
Also ensnared in the probe: Andrew Liebeskind, Surveyor’s top trader. Passi may have fed him tips on big trades to front run.
So Surveyor suddenly fired a large group of traders right before the federal probe came to light in November. Were they either part of the alleged scheme or, worse, fall guys for top executives like Liebeskind?
We will have to wait for more information to surface in the federal investigation before we know for sure. But I find the timing….convenient.
What do you think is behind the sudden Citadel firings? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Have a great weekend everyone!
More on markets:
Citadel Under Federal Investigation
Melvin Capital Under Federal Investigation
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Photo: Citadel LLC CEO Kenneth Griffin
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