RAB Staff Face Layoffs After Profit Warning

Sep 17 2010 | 1:22am ET

RAB Capital issued an earnings warning after the close of trading, and said that it would cut staff to reduce its costs.

The trouble London-based hedge fund said that its full-year loss would be larger than expected. RAB blamed a big drop in assets under management—the firm ended August with just $1.05 billion, down from $1.26 billion at the end of June and $1.35 billion at the beginning of the year—due to poor performance and investor redemptions.

At its peak two years ago, RAB managed more than $7 billion.

The warning comes just weeks after CEO Stephen Couttie, who took over from firm founder Philip Richards two years ago, abruptly resigned. He was replaced by chief investment officer Charles Kirwan-Taylor.

Richards stepped down as CEO two years ago to focus on running the firm’s flagship Special Situations Fund. But that fund’s troubles have continued, and contributed to the warning: It is down 15% over the past two months, and is down 11.2% on the year. In addition, RAB’s fund of funds lost a major institutional investor.

Kirwan-Taylor said RAB would cut staff to reflect its lower asset base.

“We are in a position with the cost base that is untenable for the assets we have,” he told Dow Jones Newswires. “Now we have to reduce those costs to a more appropriate level.”

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