After more than a decade of sticking by Greenlight Capital, putting up with its unconventional ways in return for solid results, investors are fleeing the hedge fund at a rapid pace, according to a Wall Street Journal report based on discussions with more than a dozen current and former investors and employees. (See also: 10 Worst-Performing S&P 500 Stocks So Far in 2018.)
David Einhorn's hedge fund has reportedly lost more than half of its value over four years, shrinking to just $5.5 billion in assets under management (AUM) from a reported $12 billion in 2014. Over the three-year-period from the end of 2014 to the end of 2017, the value of an investment in Einhorn's main fund fell 11.3%, compared to the S&P 500's 38.3% growth and the average stock-focused hedge fund's 18.3% return, according to hedge fund tracker HFR, and as reported by the WSJ. The fund's losses accelerated in June, down 7.7% for the month and 18.7% for the year, compared to the S&P 500's 2.7% increase and the average stock hedge fund's 1% growth.
The news sheds light on the billionaires' ill-fated value-oriented approach, in which he has avoided popular tech stocks in favor of less expensive stocks relative to earnings and other metrics. Einhorn's "bubble basket" failed to burst, and his short bets against high-flying tech giants like Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Netflix Inc. (NFLX) proved detrimental. Meanwhile, Greenlight's second-largest holding, Brighthouse Financial Inc. (BHF), sank 31% year-to-date (YTD).
Value-Oriented Approach Backfires
Of Greenlight's $5.5 billion in AUM, less than $3.5 billion belongs to outside investors, while some investors say Einhorn personally has $1 billion in the fund, reports the WSJ. Investors have also voiced complaints over the firm's lack of communication with its clients and its stricter liquidity terms for investors to commit to hold investments for three years, with one chance annually to withdraw after that.
Still, Greenlight has secured annual returns of 15% since its inception, versus 8.7% for the S&P 500 and 7.5% for the average stock-focused hedge fund, according to HFR.
Einhorn remains hopeful. Speaking at a conference in April, the hedge fund manager said, "Bubbles do pop you know ... Or at least they used to." (See also: 10 Dow Stocks to Buy for the Second Half of 2018.)