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Hedge fund's bosses pledge US$100 million a year to save planet

[LONDON] The wealthy founders of quant hedge fund Quadrature Capital plan to commit as much as US$100 million a year to fight climate change, making it one of the most ambitious pledges in the industry.

Quadrature recently set up a foundation that will deploy the money through 2030 to "solving this crisis" by shunning traditional solutions, the firm said on its website, without providing specific details. The hedge fund is seeking a strategist to run the foundation as well as other staff.

The plan provides a rare glimpse into the business started by Greg Skinner and Suneil Setiya, who previously worked at De Putron Fund Management Group Ltd. Quadrature stopped managing outside money at the end of last year, transforming itself into a US$900 million proprietary-trading fund that oversees only the partners' cash.

"Philanthropic giving to environmental causes remains extremely low despite the urgent need to address climate change and biodiversity loss," Mr Skinner said. The money for the foundation will remain invested in the hedge fund until it's deployed, according to Mr Setiya.

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Founded in 2010, Quadrature calls itself a technology firm that uses complex algorithms to analyse reams of data. Its strategy revolves around looking for instances of what it considers to be incorrectly priced securities, as well as identifying links between seemingly unrelated securities and detecting anomalies. The company reported profit of about £44 million (S$77.9 million) for the year through January 2018, filings show.

With the creation of the foundation, the money managers will join the ranks of fund titans who have become philanthropists. The most prominent of these is Jeremy Grantham, who has pledged to devote US$1 billion to helping the world fight and adapt to climate change. Others include Chris Hohn, co-founder of the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, and David Harding, the billionaire who set up hedge fund Winton Group and who donated £100 million to the University of Cambridge recently.

"The way in which governments, organisations and corporations have approached climate change has left the issue highly politicised, seemingly impossible to solve," Quadrature said on its website. "We believe our role is to disrupt the current trajectory, support those that have already or have the potential to demonstrate progress and design and execute high impact approaches."