| BOSTON, March 16
BOSTON, March 16 Hedge fund titan Viking
Global, which invests billions of dollars for prominent U.S.
pension funds, told clients this week that one of its top
portfolio managers is exiting after Viking's founder and the
manager disagreed over how to run the firm.
James Parsons who specialized in technology, media and
telecommunications investments is leaving the Greenwich,
Connecticut-based firm, its founder, Andreas Halvorsen, wrote to
investors this week. Parsons was also a member of the firm's
A person who had seen the letter but was not permitted to
discuss it publicly read portions to Reuters. A spokeswoman at
Viking declined to comment.
The news was first reported to AR Magazine.
The roughly $14 billion firm has been a darling in the
investment community ever since Halvorsen, a former Norwegian
Navy SEAL, left Tiger Management and set up his own firm in
Thanks to strong returns right from the start, including a
roughly 8 percent gain last year when the average fund lost
about 5 percent, Viking has become a favorite with pensions
funds like the state of Massachusetts.
Since launching nearly 13 years ago, the firm's Viking
Global Equities fund has returned an average 19 percent per
year, boasting one of the industry's best records.
But the firm has also been beset by a several high level
departures in the last two years, beginning when David Ott, who
had been with Viking since the start, left in 2010. Dris Upitis,
who has also been a management committee member, resigned in
early 2011. Several analysts have also left in the last year.
At the end of 2011, Viking, which specializes in picking
stocks, listed technology powerhouse Apple as its
largest position on its regulatory filing with the Securities
Exchange Commission. Financial services companies Invesco Ltd
and US Bancorp and Chinese Web services company
Baidu were the next largest positions.
Investors familiar with Viking said they expect little
dramatic change in the wake of the Parsons departure, adding
that similar splits could occur more often now that the $2
trillion hedge fund industry is maturing.
"There are going to be people who want to start their own
funds and there are going to be more of these types of
divorces," said an investor who oversees billions of dollars for
private investors and is not permitted to speak publicly.