Hedge fund Ardmore shutting, manager moving to Citadel's Aptigon

BOSTON (Reuters) - Prominent technology investor Chris Connor is shutting down his hedge fund less than one year after launching it and will be joining Citadel, one of the industry’s biggest players, two sources familiar with the move said on Tuesday.

Connor launched Ardmore Global Investors, which concentrated on picking global technology, media and telecommunications stocks, in March. [L1N6G0UR] The fund was roughly flat at the end of November with a loss of 0.3 percent for the year.

Now Connor becomes the latest in a string of portfolio managers to join Citadel’s Aptigon unit, launched earlier this year as the firm’s fourth stock-picking business.

At least some of Connor’s four Ardmore analysts will also be moving to Aptigon, one of the sources said.

In March Ardmore started trading with $120 million which grew to $180 million, one of the sources said, adding that the firm is now returning all capital to its investors.

The sources, speaking on the condition of not being named because the matter is private, did not provide a reason for Connor’s decision.

A spokeswoman for Ardmore declined to comment on the matter.

Connor established his reputation at John Thaler’s now closed hedge fund JAT Capital and was ranked as that firm’s top performing investment analyst.

Soon after JAT closed its doors in 2015, Connor began laying the groundwork for his own firm.

It started trading as volatile markets took a bite out of many established funds’ performance. But Connor told clients in a letter that Ardmore was set up for exactly these kinds of conditions, promising a balanced portfolio that was positioned to be “opportunistic in noisy and volatile markets.”

The average global hedge fund has returned 2.48 percent this year, according to data from Hedge Fund Research (HFR), short of the Standard & Poor 500 index’ 10.7 percent gain this year.

Raising fresh cash from institutional clients is becoming tougher, and some 782 funds closed their doors in the first three quarters of 2016, marking the fastest pace of hedge fund closures since the 2007-2009 financial crisis, HFR data show.

At Aptigon, Richard Schimel, senior managing director of Citadel, has hired dozens of managers and analysts since he joined the firm after closing down his own small fund, Sterling Ridge.

with additional reporting by Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Will Dunham and Cynthia Osterman