Longtime TradFi hedge fund operator Hunting Hill Global Capital is doubling down on cryptocurrency trading — which has not been common knowledge on The Street — according to three sources familiar with the matter.
The New York firm is closing in on a number of key hires for just that, sources said: at least two former Genesis executives, plus at least one senior addition out of Galaxy Digital.
There’s no shortage of interest in the ebbs and flows of talent from Genesis, the struggling crypto lender and trader, in the toughest job market in recent memory. Employers and jobseekers have been stung by plummeting payrolls. For the few with dry powder, though, there’s an upside: Talent exceeds openings.
Hunting Hill tapped Martin Garcia, who spent more than half a dozen years at Genesis, as chief investment officer for its emerging crypto-only affiliate, Hunting Hill Digital, sources said. Garcia, in charge of the unit’s hiring, is evidently looking to use that job market to his advantage.
Garcia had been biding his time since August 2021, when he left Genesis as one of its longest-tenured staffers. He’s been recently building out the “plumbing and piping and infrastructure,” a source said.
Garcia has teamed up with Adam Gueren, founder and chief investment officer of Hunting Hill proper. Guren is taking on the role of chief executive for Hunting Hill Digital in one indicator of his conviction in digital assets. Another Hunting Hill trader, Adam Genello, is set to join the new fund as a portfolio manager.
Crypto has tanked. It may still be tanking. Why launch now?
The rationale, sources said, for putting the fund in play sooner rather than later? Mammoth market dislocations brought into being by the collapses of some of crypto’s largest players.
“The market has been going kind of crazy, and [Garcia and Guren] didn’t really see the right opportunity” until recently, a source said.
Hunting Hill, as it turns out, has been in crypto since February 2020, via the launch of Hunting Hill Crypto Opportunities Fund — long before scores of Wall Street peers followed suit. While its performance since isn’t known, two sources said results have been above average, adding that Guren wouldn’t otherwise greenlight another fund.
The firm declined to comment. Sources were granted anonymity to discuss sensitive business dealings.
An effort to mesh TradFi, crypto investing tactics
Hunting Hill has, since its 2010 inception, expanded its core arbitrage mandate to include additional strategies, one source said. Digital assets are now up. It ran $718 million of gross assets at the end of 2021.
That evolution plays into the narrative of the multi-strategy fund operators increasingly cornering the market for limited partner dollars. A number have delivered standout showings throughout 2022’s frothy stock, bond and commodity markets.
And a few such hedge fund behemoths, including Steve Cohen’s Point72, have, like Hunting Hill, taken the crypto plunge.
The open-ended Hunting Hill Crypto Opportunities Fund now has about $50 million in assets under management, the source said.
The yet-to-be-named new entity has its launch penciled-in for the end of first quarter or beginning of the second. It’s too early to get a pulse on capital-raising aspirations, two sources said, but conversations with would-be backers are already in play.
Garcia and Guren are vying to mesh the “traditional team at Hunting Hill and more crypto-native folks, as well,” one source said. To that end, Garcia before Genesis spent time at illiquid asset specialist SecondMarket.
The firm typically trades bonds, derivatives, ETFs and equities. Its in-house products tend to pay off when markets chop and churn — likewise the bar for its crypto dealings.
The specifics of Hunting Hill Digital’s strategies aren’t settled. But it’s not going to be a quant shop, one source said. That said, it could look to acquire a crypto quant specialist at some point — part of a diversification push.
At the moment, there’s all but untold alpha to be derived from crypto’s many corners by savvy traders armed with opportunistic strategies. And there’s real promise in buying into beaten-up spot assets and startup stakes in a recovery wager.
Still, Hunting Hill has quite the tricky fundraising road ahead, one source said. The largest of limited partners — the likes of top family offices, pensions and endowments — had been engaged in serious due diligence on crypto portfolio managers in the bull market.
Scores have since backed out or put those prospects on the back burner.
“It’s an interesting launch,” the source said. “But they’re looking at this as a four- or five-year play.”