Prospect Asset Management To Cut 40% Of Staff

Dec 4 2008 | 10:30am ET

A Japanese real estate hedge fund shop plans to cut almost half of its workforce as it desperately struggles to stay afloat.

Honolulu-based Prospect Asset Management Chairman Curtis Freeze said the firm’s headcount would drop to about 30 over the next few months, Bloomberg News reports. The firm employed more than 50 people two years ago. The cost-cutting moves come as Prospect has been battered by the declining Japanese property market.

Unfortunately for Prospect’s remaining 30 staffers, Freeze says the firm, which has seen its assets under management fall by 60% to $1 billion—and its hedge fund fall by 99% to just $6 million—is not out of the woods just yet.

“I will know whether Prospect is going to bottom or is going to have another year of pain” after the results of Tokyo-based real estate investment trust New City Residence Investment Corp.’s bankruptcy become clearer, Freeze said. Prospect owns a 5.49% stake in the REIT. “Depending on where these New City assets trade, we will decide whether I attract new money or whether things are going to spiral down further.”


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