Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group to Return Investors Money

Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group will be returning money to investors at year-end. As II Alpha reports, though the amount has yet to be determined, this would be only the second time the hedge fund has returned money in the firm’s 31-year history. With the world of asset managers, as we recently noted, increasingly become herd-like beta-chasers, it seems Klarman – just as he noted earlier in the year – will return capital unless investment opportunities dramatically increased – and that hasn’t happened.

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This would be only the second time Baupost returned money to investors in the Boston-based investment firm’s 31-year history. The previous time was in 2010, and Baupost subsequently raised money in early 2011.  In a letter dated April 29, Klarman said the goal is “to better match our assets under management with the opportunity set we see for new investments.” The decision was made, in part, after a series of discussions with clients on the firm’s quarterly webcasts with investors. The firm’s goal is to keep assets under management at $25 billion, according to the person familiar with Baupost. Baupost’s performance is even more impressive given its penchant for holding large amounts of cash. It has averaged 33 percent of assets in cash, and its cash balance can reach as high as 50 percent. It is now in the mid-30 percent range, up slightly from 32 percent at year-end.

However, the firm does not use leverage to try to boost returns.  “Our willingness to invest amidst falling markets is the best way we know to build positions at great prices, but this strategy, too, can cause short-term underperformance,” Klarman explained in an investor letter earlier this year.

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