Hedge Fund Managers Flee Lazard

February 5, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Several hedge fund managers have headed for the exits at Lazard LLC, only two weeks after the investment bank said the team would stay put despite the departure of its leader, William von Mueffling.

Industry sources said Robert Cope, Tom Ellis, and Ben Guest all left the company in the wake of von Mueffling’s defection, according to a Reuters news report. Von Mueffling had helped build the $4-billion hedge fund group, one of the company’s main money makers.

Cope had been put in charge of running the European Opportunities fund, one of the best performers in its class, when von Mueffling left.

News that the managers have left comes at a time many hedge fund managers who once worked for big money managers are striking out on their own, eager to meet growing demand in the $600-billion industry.

Lazard, a privately held mergers advisory bank that employs around 2,500 people worldwide, is being revamped by Bruce Wasserstein. Speculation has grown that the firm will exit fund management to focus on investment banking, according to Reuters.