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Archive for July, 2006

Rohit D’souza of Merrill

Posted by g.e. on July 28, 2006

With the appointment of Rohit D’souza as Head of Global Markets & Investment Banking at Merrill, he becomes the second desi to hold this post.

Earlier, Arshad Zakaria’s* 16-year stint with Merrill culminated in his appointment as the Head of GMI from Oct 2001 (until he retired in 2003).

Earlier, Rohit was credited with building Morgan Stanley’s Equity Trading Lab (a quantititative trading platform for low-touch, automated-trading there) and transforming MS‘s electronic trading infrastructure while he was there.

*Newsweek Fareed Zakaria’s bro 



From the Bloomberg coverage of his news of leaving ML:

Under D’Souza, stock trading was Merrill’s best performing major business in 2007, helping to mitigate about $25 billion of writedowns taken on mortgage-related bonds, corporate loans and assets held in other Merrill divisions.

The person who hired D’Souza, Dow Kim, left in May 2007 to start his own hedge fund.

In 2004, Kim, who oversaw all of Merrill’s trading businesses, recruited D’Souza from rival securities firm Morgan Stanley to head stock trading worldwide. At the time, Kim said he wanted to modernize Merrill’s stock business, with automated trading systems that could route orders more cheaply than phone- based salepeople.

Forming Alliances

D’Souza, who has a computer science degree from the 550- student Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, did just that. He’s described by those who know him as cordial and straightforward — and more likely to chit-chat about computers and technology than sports or expensive cars.

He started his career at Barra Inc., a Berkeley, California- based provider of investment risk-management systems, according to a Merrill biography. He then went to New York-based Investment Technology Group Inc., an electronic brokerage, according to securities-industry records.

In 1996 he joined Morgan Stanley, where he worked for eight years and was a mentee of Vikram Pandit, now CEO of Citigroup Inc.

At Merrill, D’Souza overhauled computerized systems used to place trading orders, while setting up alliances with rival brokerage firms to develop electronic markets that could compete with Thain’s New York Stock Exchange.

One venture, BlockAlert, was started in 2006 with ITG to help hedge funds and other institutional traders buy and sell large blocks of stocks — usually 10,000 shares or more. Also that year, the firm bought the electronic brokerage Wave Securities LLC and joined with other brokerage firms to start a trading platform called BIDS Trading LP.


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Other notable wallstreet wizards

Posted by g.e. on July 27, 2006

Other notable traders include:
Ashok Varadhan, as Head of Interest Rate Products with Goldman in the US is said to pocket an estimated $20-25mn a year. (Age: 28+).

Sushil Wadhwani, a former advisor to The Bank of England. Runs his own Wadhwani Asset Management Co (AUM: $2+bn, Age: 40+).

Ravinder Mehra of Vega Hedge Fund. Based in Madrid, he is said to be one of the best hedge fund trader ever. With an annual returns of 8-20%, he is listed along side Mr Anshu Jain of Deutsche in eFinancialNews‘s 100 Most Influential People in 2005. (AUM: $7+bn)

Viswas Raghavan, Head of Capital Markets at JPMorgan Chase for Europe and APAC. He is listed as Convertible Bond king in eFinancialNews‘s 2006 list.

Raj Rajaratnam of The Galleon Group. The Sri Lanka born fund manager is listed as one of the elite US money managers in a book called “The New Investment Superstars: 13 Great Investors and Their Strategies for Superior Returns” by Lois Peltz. (AUM: $5+bn).

Rajeev Misra, Head of Credit Trading in Deutsche. Risk notes him as having led the effort to make credit derivatives an integral part of Deutsche’s business.

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Dinakar Singh, The Global Investor

Posted by g.e. on July 25, 2006

Said to be a prodigy, he left GS at the tender age of 36 to start a Hedge Fund in partnership with TPG – the dominant private equity firm that is in the same league as Carlyle (which has more political capital) and Blackstone.

No doubt we will see him emerge on top of the heap of Alpha men someday soon.

Alpha’s Top 25, published annually by Institutional Investor‘s Alpha Magazine.

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Anil Agarwal of Vedanta

Posted by g.e. on July 22, 2006

I always wished to see western-scale university-s proping up in India everywhere.

I was particularly expecting that Ambanis or any of the titans (see Note below) who made it big in the US to come up with something decent on these lines.

And now am thrilled to see the grand designs that Mr Anil Agarwal has unveiled for his Vendanta University in Orissa.

As noted in FT:
Anil Agarwal, founder and executive chairman of mining group Vedanta, has donated $1bn from a personal fortune estimated at $3.5bn to set up a university in India – the biggest donation for a single teaching institute.

I hope this marks the beginning of a very decent trend, given that the biggest chunk of labour pool is expected to emerge in India and so on.

In his own words:
What is money for if not to be made and given back to society,” he told the Financial Times, as he described his “vision” of a university modelled on the likes of Harvard, Oxford and Stanford.

I hope that is a strong enough a message for the Mittals’ and Azim Premji’s of India.

Particularly Guru Deshpande, Suhas Patel, Ram Shriram, Vinod Khosla, K B Chandrasekhar and others.

While Guru Deshpande is said to have shown interest in the Ganga Dham project, KBC already has Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai to his credit.

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Mr Suresh Prabhu of FirstApex

Posted by g.e. on July 22, 2006

FirstApex, a solutions provider in the Insurance space, has global ambitions to do in insurance what i-Flex did in banking.

A very interesting company to watch.

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Vikram Pandit of Old Lane

Posted by g.e. on July 22, 2006

Its only a matter of time before we see Old Lane mentioned in the same breath as other boutique investment banks such as Lazard, Greenhill, Evercore Partners. (Or so i hope :). The beginnings of this indie bank can be traced to the famous management shake-up at Morgan Stanley by its then CEO (Purcell) that set off the exodus of talent from Morgan Stanley. The famous among them being Perella (see below), Anda (who returned to MS), Meguid, Pandit. After much speculation in the media about his return to Morgan post-Purcell (who himself was kicked out shortly afterwards), Mr Pandit (dubbed by The Economist as one of the top wallstreet strategists to watch in 2005) went onto found Old Lane along with other partners from Morgan Stanley.  PS:The other positive fall outs from Purcell’s famous shakeup include the establishment of Perella Weinberg Partners by Joseph Perella (who left along with Mr Pandit) and the return of the king Mr John Mack at the helm of Morgan Stanley.

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Anurag Dixit – Billion Dollar Programmer

Posted by g.e. on July 22, 2006

To those who like to make fun of indian programmers, i would like to introduce Anurag Dixit :)

This humble man (a predominant number of the smart indians are very humble, so i am happy to note this trait here) wrote the code for the online gaming company PartyGaming that owns the largest online avenue for Poker playing PartyPoker.

And when PartyGaming was listed in LSE in 2005, he is believed to own $2+bn (yes, no typos) in stocks.

Hi Dixit, pls see the post on Vendata University elsewhere in indscriptions.

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Sabeer Bhatia and the blogs of tomorrow

Posted by g.e. on July 22, 2006

Sabeer Bhatia is back.

While i find all* of his ideas interesting, i think his Blog Everywhere is the coolest.

For it may pave the way to leave footprints on all the sites one visits.

Though i haven’t used it myself, with features like CC Blog that auto-posts whats posted on BlogEverywhere to your blog, i can see why this can become famous.

*Among them hotmail, navin.com, hotseasons, voifi, telixo, instacoll.
Do check out InstaColl. This one sounded very impressive.

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Umang Gupta of GuptaSQL fame

Posted by g.e. on July 21, 2006

With the exception of Bose‘s, I don’t know of any other desi Product named after its creator. That credit, till then, must go to Umang Gupta!

In his new avatar as Founder of Keynote Systems, he provides a non-intrusive way to measure and monitor “online” transactions performance.

Keynote is in the same league as Gomez that rates online trading sites and other such portals based on performance and uptime.

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TIBCO – Side notes on Tejpal Chadha

Posted by g.e. on July 21, 2006

While TIBCO got acquired by the Reuters, the Event Driven Enterprise is being championed by the likes Vhayu and Progress now.

The name Vhayu is no mystery given that it was co-founded by an Indian, Tejpal Chadha.

It supplies systems for Real Time Analytics taking the digital enterprise from Real Time Data to Real Time Decisions.

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