Empirical Hedge Fund Soars 65%

Jan 12 2010 | 1:29am ET

Despite a mid-year rough patch, Empirical Finance finished its first full year of operation with an impressive 65.56% return.

Empirical, founded by former Marine Wesley Gray, posted only three down months in 2009. In three other months, Empirical Search Strategies enjoyed double-digit returns, helping it easily overcome its rough start: The fund was founded in September 2008, and dropped 23.52% in its first four months.

“The market left many $100 bills lying on the ground in late 2008 and early 2009, and we at ESS began picking them up with gusto,” managing member Andy Kern wrote it Empirical’s year-end letter to investors. “Fortunately, there were enough opportunities to allow us to be very discerning.”

Empirical also dabbled for the first time in shareholder activism last year, “a step that proved very profitable.”

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