| April 17
April 17 The chief investment officer and two
natural gas traders at Sasco Energy Partners have left the
Connecticut-based energy fund, sources said on Thursday, the
latest departures from a firm that has struggled to make a
Joe Howley, who joined Sasco around a year ago as CIO and
partner to the firm's founding member Tom Purdy, left earlier
this month along with portfolio manager Brian Lisoski and trader
Garth Camp, the sources who were familiar with the moves told
Sasco declined comment.
Once one of the most successful hedge funds in the U.S.
natural gas market, Sasco has seen its fortunes slip steadily in
the past two years, culminating with a 20 percent trading loss
Its assets under management have also dwindled to around
$300 million from a one-time high above $620 million as
investors fled the fund.
Sasco's situation is hardly unique as fewer investors have
conviction now in the ability of commodity hedge funds to
generate good returns. A host of funds have closed in the past
two years after struggling to make money, from former gas
trading wizard John Arnold's Centaurus Energy to one-time
prominent oil and metals trader Chris Levett's Clive Capital.
The departures of Howley and the two traders, first reported
on Thursday by energy news portal Sparkspread, follows the exit
of another Sasco partner and founding member, Todd Esse, in
Esse worked at energy merchants Enron and Sempra before
setting up Sasco in 2008 with Purdy and was its first trader.
Esse's role in Sasco was taken over by Howley, a former Goldman
Sachs trader who was brought in in May after Sasco's 4-year
profit run ended in 2012.
Besides Esse, at least three others at Sasco left the firm
last year - analyst Michael Zenker who left in October after
just a year at the firm; managing director of energy trading
Allen Chan and natural gas trader Tom Bennewitz.
(Reporting by Barani Krishnan; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)