Merrill's Hedge Strategist Becomes Ramius' First Alts Head
Reported by Tommy Fernandez
In yet another sign of the ballooning importance of alts products in '40 Act Country, Ramius has unveiled its first ever alts czar.
The global investment management arm of Cowen Group has hired Bradley Sussman to serve as managing director and head of liquid alternative products.
In this newly-created role, Sussman will be responsible for the firm’s mutual fund platform and growing its suite of liquid alternative products.
Previously, he had been a managing director, Hedge Fund Strategist, at Merrill Lynch where he has been a member of the Investment Committee for Alternative Investments and head of non-traditional mutual fund due diligence.
In a statement, Ramius chief executive Michael Singer explained that Sussman was "uniquely qualified" because he is "a veteran in the alternatives space who has spent his career constructing and overseeing portfolios of hedge funds and more recently leading the sourcing and diligence of alternative mutual funds."
"He has been at the forefront of the movement to offer contemporary liquid alternative strategies to retail and mass affluent investors, products historically in the domain of sophisticated institutional investors only," Singer stated. "Brad’s mandate will be to develop bolt on products to existing firm investment capabilities and onboard talented investment teams in order to deliver to the market the right liquid products in the right space managed by the right teams.”
Here is the press release:
Company Press Release
Ramius Names Head of Liquid Alternative Products
NEW YORK -- January 7, 2014
Ramius LLC, (“Ramius”) the global investment management business of Cowen Group, Inc. (“Cowen”) (Nasdaq:COWN) with more than $9 billion in assets under management, today announced that Bradley Sussman will be joining the firm as Managing Director and Head of Liquid Alternative Products. In his role, Brad will be responsible for the firm’s mutual fund platform and growing its suite of liquid alternative products. Mr. Sussman is a Managing Director, Hedge Fund Strategist, at Merrill Lynch where he has been a member of the Investment Committee for Alternative Investments and head of non-traditional mutual fund due diligence.
Michael Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Ramius, commented, “Brad, a veteran in the alternatives space who has spent his career constructing and overseeing portfolios of hedge funds and more recently leading the sourcing and diligence of alternative mutual funds, is uniquely qualified to lead our liquid alternatives business. He has been at the forefront of the movement to offer contemporary liquid alternative strategies to retail and mass affluent investors, products historically in the domain of sophisticated institutional investors only. Brad’s mandate will be to develop bolt on products to existing firm investment capabilities and onboard talented investment teams in order to deliver to the market the right liquid products in the right space managed by the right teams.”
Ramius’ numerous liquid alternative products include the recently launched Ramius Event Driven Equity Fund (Ticker: REDIX/REDAX), which provides exposure to a broad spectrum of transformative corporative events with a core focus on following shareholder activism. The firm has been a pioneer in launching liquid alternative products as an asset class.
“As a broader universe of investors begin to allocate meaningful assets to daily liquid alternative strategies, it is crucial that those who understand these underlying strategies best offer top quality products to this marketplace. With two decades of expertise in alternatives, Ramius has been a leader in sourcing skilled investment teams, developing innovative products and bringing these capabilities and solutions to all investors. There is a tremendous opportunity for the firm to educate investors and create access to these liquid products, and I am very pleased to be joining Ramius at this exciting time,” said Bradley Sussman.
According to Morningstar, Inc. and Barron's fifth annual national survey regarding alternative investments among institutions and financial advisors published in June 2013, liquid alternative products have grown significantly in recent years. The survey found that many investors are recognizing that alternative mutual funds are a unique tool to diversify portfolios, and that more financial advisors are incorporating liquid investments into client portfolios. The survey noted that "mutual funds are becoming the dominant vehicle used by both advisors and institutions to access the majority of alternative strategies." Regarding alternatives more broadly, the survey found that only 4 percent of advisors said their typical client had no money in alternative investments, down from 17 percent in the 2008 survey.
About Bradley Sussman
Bradley Sussman has been serving as a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch, where he established hedge fund strategic allocations, model portfolios and provided accompanying advice and guidance to investors. He has been a voting member of the alternative investments investment committee overseeing hedge funds, private equity and third party fund of funds. He has also been Merrill Lynch’s head of non-traditional mutual fund due diligence, leading fund sourcing and research, creating and managing both model and live portfolios and publishing a monthly non-traditional mutual fund guide.
Before Merrill Lynch, Mr. Sussman was a Portfolio Manager at Ivy Asset Management for over a decade and was responsible for managing $3.5 billion across 18 hedge fund of funds portfolios. At Ivy, he also served as a member of the Investment Risk Management Committee and Product Development Team.
Prior to Ivy, Mr. Sussman worked as Vice President of Research for Bear Hunter Specialists. He began his career as a Financial Advisor Associate at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., where he serviced accounts for high net worth individuals, families, foundations, trusts and pension funds. He received a BA in Political Science from Yale, and is a CFA and CAIA Charter Holder.
About Ramius LLC
Ramius is an alternative investment platform offering innovative products and solutions across the liquidity spectrum to institutional and private clients.
Founded in 1994, the firm offers investors access to strategies to meet their unique needs including small-cap activism, healthcare royalties, customized solutions, event driven equity, real estate, long/short credit and managed futures. Ramius attracts talented in-house and affiliated investment teams and provides them with institutional infrastructure, proven sales and marketing and know how. The firm is committed to the success of its global investor base and invests a significant portion of firm capital alongside clients. Ramius manages over $9 billion in assets.
About Cowen Group, Inc.
Cowen Group, Inc. is a diversified financial services firm and, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, provides alternative asset management, investment banking, research, and sales and trading services through its two business segments: Ramius and its affiliates make up the Company’s alternative investment segment, while Cowen and Company and its affiliates make up the Company’s broker-dealer segment. Ramius provides alternative asset management solutions to a global client base and manages a significant portion of Cowen’s proprietary capital. Cowen and Company and its affiliates offer industry focused investment banking for growth-oriented companies, domain knowledge-driven research and a sales and trading platform for institutional investors. Founded in 1918, the firm is headquartered in New York and has offices located in major financial centers around the world.