The 2015 Hedge Fund Rising Stars: Brian Kelly

At Millennium Management, Smith Barney alumnus Kelly leads the $30.1 billion hedge fund firm’s marketing push into wealth management.


In 2007, at age 30, Brian Kelly was co-managing a sales and marketing team for Smith Barney, the private banking arm of Citigroup; this unit of more than 20 focused on selling alternative investments to the Smith Barney network and client base. As a kid in Queens, the son of a New York City fireman and an administrative assistant had always been drawn to the world of finance and business. While attending Long Island’s Hofstra University, where he majored in finance with a minor in economics, he interned on Wall Street during his junior year and took a full-time role at Smith Barney in his senior year, finishing college at night. When Kelly joined the firm in 1999, he started in alternative investing as a point person between hedge funds, venture capital, private equity and other alternative-investment funds and the firm’s individual wealth advisers. As the hedge fund industry grew and became more important to banks, his place at Smith Barney changed. By 2008, Kelly was working under Citi Alternative Investments, selling internal and external funds. When Citi and Morgan Stanley merged their brokerage divisions in 2009, with Morgan Stanley taking the controlling stake, he moved over with the business. In 2010, however, after little more than a year at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, he decided to join New York–based hedge fund firm Millennium Management. Kelly had come to know John Novogratz, $30.1 billion Millennium’s global head of marketing and investor relations, who hired him, and Kelly knew the firm well. Since 2008, Millennium, founded and run by Israel (Izzy) Englander, had been seeking to build up and diversify its client base. Kelly, 37, heads the wealth management effort in addition to working with some family offices and registered investment advisers.