Woman's $8.2 billion firm is off to a huge start

Leda Braga, who manages Systematica Investments' BlueTrend fund.
Source: BlueCrest

The most powerful woman in hedge funds is off to a red-hot start at the helm of her own firm.

Leda Braga—who launched Systematica Investments in January after years under prominent European hedge fund firm BlueCrest Capital Management—steered her $7.6 billion flagship BlueTrend fund to a 9.52 percent gain net of fees last month, according to a private performance update sent to investors.

BlueTrend won mostly on unspecified bond bets, according to the letter. Much smaller returns came from correct interest rate plays, stocks and energy-related securities. BlueTrend lost a small amount on currency bets over the week of Jan. 10, the same period when a surprise Swiss National Bank policy move sent its currency soaring versus the euro and U.S. dollar, and burned many investors in the process.

But the firm more than made up that weekly foreign exchange loss with wins on bonds and stocks.

BlueTrend uses a "managed futures" strategy, meaning it trades the futures contracts of stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities and looks for trends in the movements of their prices—so-called trend following. The strategy was among the best performing in hedge funds last year.

Read MoreThis trend following hedge fund absolutely killed it in January