Looking back on Touradji’s firmwide reorg and the launch of John Thaler’s JAT

By Rob Copeland

Tue Sep 18, 2012

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AR also revisits AQR’s quest for cash from the Pacific Northwest.


One year ago
»» Paul Touradji told clients he was reorganizing his firm to spend more time investing and less time managing operations. "Simply put, the daily operation of the firm must go from being a major time and energy drain on me to an integral support function for our entire team," he wrote.

Three months later, stung by a 14% loss in 2011 and a major asset drop that pushed the firm off AR’s Billion Dollar Club rankings, Touradji announced he was hiring Tudor Investment Corporation veteran Peter Borish as CEO in a role focused on marketing. But Borish lasted fewer than six months, as his six-month contract was not renewed because the firm’s flagship commodities fund has remained closed to new investment.

Firmide assets remain just under $1 billion, similar to one year ago. Touradij declined to comment.

See also: The Rich List 2009: Paul Touradji

»» AQR Capital Management raised $100 million from the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, for the Greenwich firm’s Delta fund.

Performance for that particular fund was not immediately available, but AQR’s Multi-Strategy Alternative Fund, a hedge fund-like mutual fund which goes long and short, is up only 1.96% this year through the end of August, compared with a 13.51% rise for the S&P 500 Index during the same time period.

The AQR investment was to be the first of $600 million of Oregonian hedge fund allocations by the end of 2012, but there have been no further allocation since then. The Oregon pension’s alternatives head John Hershey did not respond to a request for comment.

See also: AQR’s Asness building gigantic mansion AQR achieves a geeks’ revenge

Five years ago
»» Shumway Capital Partners portfolio manager John Thaler founded JAT Capital, a global equity long/short firm focused on the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sectors. Thaler launched with $200 million and rose quickly, reaching $2.4 billion at the start of 2012, months after it was nominated for an AR Award.

This year has been a rude awakening. Down 20% through midyear, JAT earned a New York Times chastising as "a lesson in volatility" and lost $500 million in assets in six months. Through the end of August, the firm was down 15.1%, according to a person familiar, compared with a 3.88% rise for the Absolute Return Global Equity Index. In 2011, the fund returned 17%.

External spokeswoman Catherine Jones said the firm declined to comment.

ISSN: 2151-1845 / CDC10004H