A struggling hedge fund says it is cutting costs and still trying to find a partner

A highly-backed hedge fund that has struggled from its start says it is cutting costs as it continues to look for fresh money to buoy assets.

Folger Hill Asset Management, a Leucadia and Schonfeld-backed hedge fund firm started by Steve Cohen’s former chief operating officer Sol Kumin, has reduced management headcount by 17% this year.

That’s according to an April investor letter that was reviewed by Business Insider.

Several senior staffers have left the firm in recent months, including at least two portfolio managers, the director of risk and the director of investor relations as recently as last week, Business Insider previously reported.

Schonfeld Strategic Advisors backed Folger Hill’s Asia unit last year, joining Leucadia, which had previously invested in the hedge fund firm.

Kumin added in the letter: “We continue to focus on Fund expenses, seeking additional measures to effectively cut costs without adversely impacting our ability to effectively run the business or diminishing the value proposition to a prospective strategic investor.”

Folger Hill doesn’t charge a management fee that is common with many hedge funds. Rather, the firm uses a so-called pass through expense model, according to marketing materials reviewed by Business Insider and people familiar with the firm. In that model, investors take on the costs of running the fund. But assets at the fund fell precipitously last year as some investors pulled money. That means that fewer investors take on the same costs, people familiar with the firm said.

The people requested to remain anonymous because the information is private.

Since at least last November, Folger Hill has been looking for a strategic partner to add capital, as reported by Reuters. Folger Hill has yet to find a partner, Kumin wrote in the April letter.

“We recognise that a deal of this type is complicated and will take time to sort through all the details,” Kumin wrote. “However, we are acutely aware of the importance of getting something done in the near term.”

Kumin added that he expected to have a “more comprehensive update” in the second quarter and that Folger Hill was “highly encouraged by the level of interest we’ve received to date and by the progress made with several prospective partners.”

Folger Hill’s flagship fund returned 1.2% in the first quarter of this year, compared to a 6% rise in the S&P 500 and 2.5% rise in the Russell 2000 over the same period, the letter said.

“We recognise that additional work remains to be done,” Kumin wrote about the performance.

The firm has struggled with performance from its start in 2015. The firm’s flagship fund fell 17.6% last year and about 3.2% in 2015 , according to previous investor updates seen by Business Insider.

This article was updated on Wednesday, April 26 to add that Schonfeld backed Folger Hill’s Asia business.

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