Moore Capital Management runs global macro funds that are defying the downturn, thanks in part to its absence from the mortgage realm. In the last 12 months assets under management have grown 33 percent, to $20 billion from $15 billion. Almost all of that growth is profit, says President Elaine Crocker, only a billion is new money.

Crocker does not trade herself, but she very much runs the show from within, and that includes finding, landing and nurturing talented portfolio managers. The finance, operations, legal, compliance, personnel, technology, allocations and investor relations all report to her. "I'm an internal person, so you don't hear about me too much, but I work with the portfolio managers every day."

A big part of her job is building a talented internal team so Moore Capital can quickly capitalize on opportunities as they arise. "I'm the person who is continually prodding people to get strong numbers twos. Strong people are harder to manage than malleable people. But strong people allow us to grow, and I don't want to look outside for every opportunity."

In the late 1980s Louis Bacon founded Moore Capital, now with 450 people in two major offices in New York and London, and tapped Crocker to join the firm in 1995. Clearly, she has adeptly nurtured talent in that time. Besides the recent gains in assets under management, the flagship fund, Moore Global Investments, has returned 21.42 percent annual net fees since inception.

One of Crocker's jobs is also to know how to let go. She cites the recent example of a talented credit portfolio manager who, still under 40, wants to strike out on his own. "A day comes when you can't keep them, so you have to figure out a relationship that supports both of us," she says. The firm opted to spin him out and seed his new venture.

Crocker got her start in the business in 1970 when she took a job with fledgling trading company Commodities Corp., eventually rising to evp. Reflecting on her success she says, "I'm in a field where if you're decent at what you do, people will accept you." And she offers a bit of advice for women: "You can be direct, and not abrasive, and people respond to that."

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