Hedge fund Viking Global Investors reportedly is returning approximately $8 billion to investors in its Viking Global Equities and Viking Long funds in a move it said will help it achieve “greater operating flexibility.”
The announcement came in a letter to investors that also informed its clients that Daniel Sundheim, the hedge fund’s chief investment officer, would be leaving the company to pursue his own business interests.
Andreas Halvorsen, who founded the $32 billion hedge fund, said in the letter that Sundheim “is in a league of his own as a stock picker and portfolio manager.”
Sundheim, who had been with Viking for 15 years, is being replaced by portfolio managers Ben Jacobs and Ning Jin, who will become co-CIOs. Jin joined the hedge fund in 2007, covering industrials, and Jacobs was hired by Viking in 2009 to cover consumer and materials.
By returning the $8 billion to investors, the hedge fund said in the letter that its traders would be able to invest in smaller, more liquid positions. Viking said it has already sold off the portion of its holdings it will be giving its investors. The letter also reportedly said that Sundheim, who has already been helping with the transition for Jacobs and Jin, is leaving because Viking couldn’t find a role that would give him the flexible investment mandate he was seeking.
Sundheim, joined Viking as an analyst in 2002, and was named co-CIO in 2010 before becoming the lone CIO in 2014.