(Updates with Sohn’s background from third paragraph.)
Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Albert Sohn, the former head of securitized products at Credit Suisse Group AG, plans to start a hedge fund this year within the bank’s asset-management unit, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Sohn, 41, is planning to oversee money for the Swiss bank’s clients with as many as four other employees initially, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information is private. Steven Vames, a New York-based spokesman for Credit Suisse, declined to comment on the plans.
Sohn’s former division was among those that thrived in 2009 and 2010 as markets recovered from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and then struggled last year as Europe’s sovereign debt woes curbed risk-taking, depressing prices and trading volumes. Sohn, who’s worked at Credit Suisse for 18 years, this month moved to the bank’s alternative investments unit within the asset-management group, reporting to Jonathan McHardy, according to a memo sent to employees.
Under Sohn, Credit Suisse underwrote the only two sales last year of bonds tied to new U.S. residential mortgages without government backing, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The firm also ranked as the second-largest packager of mortgage securities into new bonds in the first nine months of 2011, trailing Barclays Plc, according to newsletter Asset- Backed Alert.
Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, in October announced plans to shut a unit that originated U.S. commercial mortgages to be packaged into securities, informing about 50 employees their jobs were likely to be eliminated, two people briefed on the matter said at the time.
A month later, the bank said its “securitized products results remained weak as further declines in bond prices led to continued low client activity and additional valuation reductions” on bonds in its inventory.
Brian Chin, who’s worked at the bank since 2003, replaced Sohn, according to the memo. Dow Jones reported Chin’s move yesterday.
Credit Suisse is starting the fund as losses last year across the industry make fundraising more challenging. The number of new hedge funds declined to 265 in the third quarter from 280 in the second quarter, according to Hedge Fund Research Inc.
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