AI Hedge Fund Hires Former JPMorgan Head for U.S. Expansion

Canada’s Castle Ridge has hired Edwin Li to build out a New York office as the hedge fund sees growing interest from U.S. investors in its use of artificial intelligence.

Edwin Li will join the Castle Ridge Asset Management as a Managing Partner to lead international expansion. (Courtesy Castle Ridge)

Edwin Li will join the Castle Ridge Asset Management as a Managing Partner to lead international expansion.

(Courtesy Castle Ridge)

Artificial intelligence hedge fund Castle Ridge Asset Management has hired a former managing director at JPMorgan Chase & Co. to lead its expansion in the U.S.

The Toronto-based firm announced on the evening of June 4 that Edwin Li, who previously worked in JPMorgan’s equity trading business, will join its New York office as a managing partner. Li was most recently the bank’s head of corporate equity derivatives and cash trading in New York.

Castle Ridge says it uses an artificial intelligence product called WALLACE — which looks at 1200 securities daily using 42 different criteria — to help predict events such as acquisitions and market pullbacks. The hedge fund firm is seeing an increase in investor interest in its AI offering, according to its chief executive officer, Adrian de Valois-Franklin.

“We’re seeing more interest at family offices and endowments in the United States, so it made sense to build out an office in New York,” he said by phone Tuesday.

WALLACE was able to predict 40 public company acquisitions over a 48-month period, according to Castle Ridge. The hedge fund firm has used WALLACE with its own capital since 2013, and has invested on behalf of outside investors since January 2017, de Valois-Franklin said.


[II Deep Dive: Younger, Cheaper, Smaller, Smarter: Meet the New Breed of Quants]

Li had worked at JPMorgan for more than a decade, including as head trader of its equity structured trading business.

“He has a strong background in quant,” de Valois-Franklin said. “He’s got the right background to understand the machine learning and artificial intelligence side, as well as the complex structured products.”

It also helped, according to de Valois-Franklin, that the two had known each other for a while.

“I’ve known Edwin for quite a few years,” de Valois-Franklin said. “He’s been following what we’re doing at Castle Ridge. He’s been seeing the momentum among institutional investors.”

In terms of what’s coming next for Castle Ridge, de Valois-Franklin said the group is focused on growing in the institutional investment arena.

“We’re working with some of the major U.S. banks to launch additional products,” he said, noting that fixed income and global equities are among the markets where WALLACE is being tested.