Even by the wretched standards of the industry, hedge fund CQS is having a really rotten global pandemic. The firm’s flagship lost half of its money in March and April, and managed not to make any of it back when markets soared. It spun off its equity long/short business to focus on those stellar core fixed-income strategies, and now is getting even smaller, cutting 50 of its roughly 280 staffers.
The cuts are mainly concentrated in sales and support areas, but have also affected trading teams focused on asset-backed securities, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is private…. While CQS still manages $17 billion, up from about $15 billion in March, its share of lucrative hedge fund assets has shrunk to about a third of the money managed by the firm, down from around half last year. That’s putting pressure on revenues.
Even if you do get to keep your job, you may not get to keep all of your bonuses, in a truly ballsy move by firm founder Michael Hintze, whose own fund lost 33% the same month and then another 17% in April.
The ABS trading team, which lost a record 43.5% in March, has undergone cuts and the firm is also trying to claw back deferred compensation payments from some of the staff, one of the people said.