Update: “The figures alleged – for declines in assets and employment, are vastly overstated,” an AQR spokesman says.
The once high flying AQR Capital began its first round of layoffs yesterday, according to a Clusterstock source. The first round of cuts has mainly seen job losses in backoffice and IT, with about half of those departments cut, sources say. Front office staff are expecting cuts soon.
“By end of this year, [assests under management] are expected to be down about 80% from mid-2007 level,” the source said. “They employ more than 170 people. They will eventually cut about 40-60% of headcount by end of November.”
We’re not sure if that reported AUM loss is in just AQR’s flagship quant fund or across all the funds AQR managers. AQR declined to comment on the record for this story.
What a terrible year it’s been for Cliff Asness’ AQR Capital management. In April of 2007 the firm was said to be considering an IPO. A few months later, however, quant funds began taking serious losses when volatility kicked up in the markets. What was at first seen as a temporarily market blip became the new normal, and quarter after quarter saw AQR telling investors that its flagship Absolute Return Fund had suffered double digit losses. Now it is said to have to dramatically cut back its staff.
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