May 18, 2017 / 8:48 PM / in 8 months

Third Point's Loeb surfs on as hedge fund washout continues

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Daniel Loeb said on Thursday that he is still making money even as the hedge fund industry struggles.

Loeb, who oversees the $16 billion hedge fund firm Third Point LLC, said there are ways to earn money on mergers and acquisitions and by nudging company management to perform better. Although not primarily known for corporate activism, Third Point recently suggested to Honeywell International Inc that the company spin off its aerospace unit, which has been a drag on performance.

Loeb was speaking at the annual SkyBridge Capital hedge fund conference, called SALT, in Las Vegas.

While journalists were not permitted to hear Loeb speak, people familiar with his remarks told Reuters what he said.

A spokeswoman for Loeb confirmed the comments but declined further comment.

Third Point’s main fund has gained 7.5 percent since January, and its more aggressive fund is up 12 percent.

Last year marked a tough time for the hedge fund industry, Loeb acknowledged, noting that some investors had stopped putting money into hedge funds altogether and that his firm was also hit with redemption requests.

At the start of 2016, Third Point oversaw some $17 billion in assets, which shrunk to $15 billion during the year. This year assets have climbed, to again stand at $16 billion.

Loeb was one of a handful of marquee hedge fund managers discussing their work and investment ideas at the SALT conference, where some 1,900 people gathered to network, meet with investors and take the temperature of the $3.2 trillion industry.

Last year Loeb told investors that he was seeing the first innings of a washout for hedge funds. Last year more funds closed down since the financial crisis and even many large managers are overseeing less money than before.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Leslie Adler

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