CFO: Goldman Hedge Funds Did ‘Okay’ In Fourth Quarter

Dec 17 2008 | 1:46am ET

It may have been faint praise, but given the economic crisis and last year’s disastrous results, Goldman Sachs’ hedge funds will take it.

David Viniar, the firm’s CFO, noted that its asset management business did “pretty well” in the fourth quarter, and that it’s top new hedge fund had performed “just fine,” given the circumstances.

Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Goldman’s first-ever stock trading hedge fund which debuted this year with $7 billion in initial assets, is down about 15%, VInair said.

“That’s probably above the median for equity long/short funds,” he said. “No one is pleased with it, but given the environment we’re in, it’s done okay.”

At this time last year, Goldman was dealing with catastrophic losses to several of its quantitative hedge funds, including its flagship, Global Alpha.

On the whole, Viniar said Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which includes hedge funds as well as more traditional offerings, “performed pretty well. It would be impossible not to have depreciation when equity indices are down 40% across the board.”

GSAM’s assets under management fell by $85 billion to $779 billion—with more asset losses expected next year. On the quarter, clients pulled $5 billion while adding $6 billion. The funds suffered $90 billion in market losses.

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