July 1, 2016 / 6:25 PM / 3 years ago

Ackman's Pershing Square hedge fund cuts eight staffers

BOSTON (Reuters) - Billionaire investor William Ackman, whose hedge fund is having double digit losses this year, cut 10 percent of his staff this week when he laid off eight lower-level employees, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The people who were laid off worked largely in investor services and were cut as the firm has increasingly automated certain tasks like filling in paperwork for investors, the person said. No investment team members were let go.

New York-based Pershing Square managed $12 billion at the end of May, down from $20 billion a year ago. The activist firm makes roughly a dozen concentrated bets and has long had a smaller staff than many similarly sized hedge funds.

This year has been difficult for the firm with the Pershing Square International Fund losing 17.29 percent since January, making it one of the industry’s worst performers this year.

Last year the fund dropped 16.6 percent, largely due to Ackman’s bet on Valeant Pharmaceuticals, whose share price has tumbled 90 percent in the last 12 months.

News of the layoffs was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss

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