December 5, 2016 / 11:16 PM / 3 years ago

Hedge fund Kerrisdale saw drop in assets, lost some staff: sources

BOSTON (Reuters) - For hedge fund manager Sahm Adrangi, 2016 is the year that can not end quickly enough.

Seven months after raising a fund to bet against the stock of direct broadcast service provider DISH Network and nearly four months after being arrested following a car crash in the Hamptons, assets at Adrangi’s firm have been nearly cut in half, two people who are familiar with the fund’s operations said.

DISH’s stock price has climbed since Kerrisdale unveiled its short position in May and the accident, which was covered widely in the press, has unnerved some investors.

Adrangi’s New York-based Kerrisdale Capital Management now oversees roughly $170 million, far less than the roughly $350 million he managed over the summer.

As investors pulled money out of Kerrisdale, which made its name through bets against Chinese internet companies, the hedge fund has also lost at least six employees - including some senior people - in the last three months, the people said.

Shane Wilson, Kerrisdale’s former head of activism, and Jordon Giancoli, who had been Kerrisdale’s director of research, are among the people who no longer work for Adrangi. Neither Wilson nor Giancoli, whose LinkedIn profile says that he now works for hedge fund Carlson Capital, could be reached for comment.

In mid-August, the 35-year-old Adrangi was charged with speeding, driving under the influence and a moving violation, police on Long Island said. He was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, which was cocaine, East Hampton Police Captain Chris Anderson told Reuters.

While the bad news appears to be piling up recently, the start of 2016 was also difficult for Kerrisdale.

Like other hedge funds, the firm suffered double-digit drops in early 2016. Kerrisdale nursed a 7 percent loss at the end of the first quarter.

This marked the first time Kerrisdale has recorded such a steep and prolonged drop. The firm had made a splash with strong gains since its launch in 2009 and its main hedge fund, which bets both for and against company stocks, has averaged an annual return of about 28 percent over the last five years.

But there may be a silver lining at the fund as well.

Adrangi has erased nearly all of this year’s losses, leaving the fund roughly flat, one of the people familiar with the fund said. A source familiar with Adrangi’s thinking said he plans to stick with the firm’s pattern of writing long research reports to persuade other investors to take similar positions.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss, editing by G Crosse

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