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Layoffs Watch '13: Comac Capital

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The UK firm's decision to cut 1/3 of its staff is said to be part of a "strategic" plan to stop losing money.

London-based hedge-fund Comac Capital LLP laid off a third of its employees, its executives said, after almost two years of investment losses that led some investors to pull money from the firm. Comac managed $4.8 billion at the end of September 2012, according to a person familiar with the firm. It now manages about $2.2 billion, the executives said on Friday. Comac expanded quickly after a strong performance in 2008 but has struggled of late. The firm lost 9% last year, when rival firms were flat, on average, according to research firm HFR. This year, it was down almost 5% through early September. The firm laid off 18 employees in August, said Chief Executive Hopewell Wood. The layoffs were a "strategic decision" to bring the firm's investment team back to the smaller size that had previously been successful, Ms. Wood said.

"I don't think our performance is where I expect it to be, and it's not where I expect it to be in the future," Comac founder Colm O'Shea said on Friday. He said that in the context of his more than 20-year career as an investor, he didn't view the firm's losses this year as "very material."



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