TODAY’S City A.M. awards shortlist, summarises the nominations for the trader of the year award, sponsored by spread betting specialists GFT.

The award is designed to seek out this year’s front runners – traders who have performed exceptionally against a backdrop of complex regulation and great volatility.

Experience, discipline, performance under pressure – all these qualities will be evident in the star performer. But the heaviest component will come from the numbers. The successful applicant will be the trader or team that has shown itself to have successfully read its sector and outperformed peers and competitors.

This year we have selected traders from a couple of traditional fund manager type organisations such as Old Mutual and First State Investments and mixed this in with a proprietary trader from GLG, now owned by Man Group, Winton’s David Harding and Ewan Kirk from Cantab.

None of the traders seek publicity or fame. They almost all operate away from the public gaze but each of them has a big reputation in their sector.

Driss Ben-Brahim
Proprietary trader, GLG

Driss Ben-Brahim, GLG’s colourful star performer, has established a reputation for success trading in currencies, sovereign bonds and interest rates. This high achiever joined GLG, now part of Man Group, in 2008 and currently oversees GLG Atlas Macro, which is bucking the trend at Man Group with returns in excess of 6.81 per cent. A multi-lingual INSEAD graduate, Ben-Brahim began his career in 1994 at Goldman Sachs and was made a partner there in 2004.

Ashton Bradbury
Head of equities at Old Mutual Asset Managers

Old Mutual’s star head of equities and leader of the bank’s Specialist Equities fund has carved out a reputation for excelling when it comes to shorting the equities market. A specialist himself, Bradbury’s focus for most of his trading career has been the small and mid-cap sectors.

Bradbury was appointed to his current role in 2008. He has significantly outperformed his peers over decades, earning a triple-A rating along the way.

Ewan Kirk
CIO at Cantab

Ewan Kirk, mathematician and leading light in the computer-driven hedge fund world, has steered Cantab Capital Partners from outsider status to become a $3.6bn giant.

A Goldman Sachs alumnus, the Cantab chief investment officer and the firm’s co-founder, oversees the research-focused Cambridge firm, which has grown rapidly since its launch in 2007. The fund has achieved annualised returns of 13.5 per cent since its 2007 launch.

David Harding
CEO, Winton Capital Management

Founder of another computer-driven trading operator, Winton Capital Management, David Harding has also had a good year.

The firm’s leading fund, Winton Futures, gained 6.3 per cent over 2011, while its cumulative performance over three years has reached 23.54 per cent, according to Trustnet. Harding, one of the original scientists behind Man Group’s flagship fund, AHL, set up Winton Capital Management in 1997. Harding is reputed to be a punk rock aficionado.

Angus Tulloch
First State Investments

With nearly 40 years’ experience, Angus Tulloch has a long track record of consistently outperforming his peers. The high-achiever manages the firm’s First State Asia Pacific and First State Asia Pacific Leaders funds and is to take over the management of its £192m Scottish Oriental Companies trust next year. His ratings have been consistently high. Tulloch has outstripped his peer group by 7.5 per cent over the past year and 34.7 per cent over the last five years, according to Trustnet.