2015 was the worst year in hedge fund Pershing Square Capital's history. 2016 has notbeen goingmuch better. But do not point fingers at record-setting losses or positions that necessitate conference calls with investors to explain their performance when looking for someone to blame for the firm's layoffs. Look to the machines.
William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP, which has been battered this year by a slumping portfolio, laid off eight lower-level employees this week, according to people familiar with the matter. The cuts, which largely involve back-office employees in technology and investor services, amount to more than 10% of the activist hedge fund’s staff, the people said. Mr. Ackman told his staff this week that the moves have nothing to do with the poor performance of the hedge fund, the people said. Instead, he said, the firm has gotten better in technology and automating tasks like filling out new-investor forms, reducing the need for employees.