Blackstone Fund Tempted Fate With Name, Receives Karmic Comeuppance

You use Esperanto, you reap what you sow.
By Willy Stöwer, died on 31st May 1931 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Willy Stöwer, died on 31st May 1931 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Senfina” means “everlasting” in Esperanto, and like the utopians who made up that universal language, the people behind Senfina Advisors—namely, the Blackstone Group and former Ziff Brothers trader Parag Pande—had big plans for the private-equity giant’s first multi-manager hedge fund. Everlasting ones, in fact. And in spite of that chutzpah, things seemed to be going just fine. Unlike the “unsinkable” Titanic, Senfina not only survived its maiden voyage last year, it thrived, it’s 20% return good enough to make it one of 2015’s best. “Everlasting” didn’t seem like much of a problem at all.

Alas, in this case, forever meant a little more than two years. Senfina hit a pretty sizeable iceberg in the frigid waters of the first half, and has been taking on water ever since. Having given back everything it made last year and thensome, the S.S. Senfina is ticketed for a watery grave as its top managers head for the lifeboats.

"The market environment in 2016 for long/short hedge funds was unprecedented. We did what was in the best interest of our investors to preserve their capital," said Paula Chirhart, a Blackstone spokeswoman.

A number of Senfina's nearly one dozen portfolio managers, including Parag Pande, who joined Blackstone in 2014 and now heads Senfina, will be leaving the firm, said a source familiar with the decision who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

Down in the murky depths, Senfina will join less-ironically named peers who also failed to make it to 2017.

Prominent technology investor Chris Connor is shutting down his hedge fund less than one year after launching it and will be joining Citadel, one of the industry's biggest players, two sources familiar with the move said on Tuesday.

Tyrian Investments LP, the stock-focused hedge fund manager backed by Julian Robertson's Tiger Management LLC, is shutting down, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Blackstone Group winds down Senfina hedge fund [Reuters]
Hedge fund Ardmore shutting, manager moving to Citadel’s Aptigon [Reuters]
Tiger-backed hedge fund firm Tyrian to close, source says [Reuters]