Tiger Global’s flagship hedge fund was dealt a fresh blow in April and is down more than 40 per cent this year, in the latest sign of how star investors who rode the big rally in tech stocks have been wrongfooted by a sharp pullback.
The losses marked a dramatic fall from grace for Tiger Global’s founder Chase Coleman, who has emerged as one of the world’s most prominent growth investors after founding the firm in 2001.
Tiger Global’s hedge fund lost 15.2 per cent in April, according to a person familiar with the matter, taking it down 43.7 per cent in the first four months of 2022. This year’s losses and a 7 per cent reversal in 2021 mean that the Tiger Global hedge fund’s gain of 48 per cent in 2020 has been completely erased.
The group’s long-only fund lost 24.9 per cent in April and is down 51.7 per cent in 2022, the person said. Across the two funds, the firm managed about $35bn in public equities at the end of 2021. Tiger Global declined to comment on the performance numbers, which were first reported by Bloomberg.
Last month was a miserable one for many hedge funds, with both global bond and stock markets losing money as investors fretted about high inflation pushing central banks into an aggressive interest rate hiking cycle.
The so-called Tiger Cub hedge funds, spawned from Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management and big investors in tech stocks, have been hit particularly hard in recent months as a boom in high-growth technology stocks that was accelerated by the pandemic has turned into a bear market. This has put the brakes on one of the most lucrative trades in recent years.
The Nasdaq Composite lost 13.3 per cent in April, its worst monthly performance since 2008. Despite a bounce in recent days, the tech-heavy benchmark has fallen almost 22 per cent since its November peak.
In a brief letter to investors, the Tiger Global investment team said: “April added to a very disappointing start to 2022 for our public funds. Markets have not been co-operative given the macroeconomic backdrop, but we do not believe in excuses and so will not offer any.”
The letter added that the team was managing the portfolio in the ways it described in its first-quarter letter. “[We] know we will look back on this as one point in time on a long journey,” it said.
By the start of last year, Coleman was ranked the 14th best-performing hedge fund manager ever after a bumper year in 2020 in which he made $10.4bn of gains for investors, according to research by LCH Investments. But a bruising few months meant he lost $1.5bn for investors last year, pushing him down the rankings even before this year’s fall.
This year’s losses come as expectations of a sharp rise in interest rates have pushed investors out of stocks with high rates of growth but little in the way of earnings. Higher interest rates make such companies’ future cash flows look relatively less attractive.
Other high-profile casualties among growth investors include Baillie Gifford’s Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and Cathie Wood’s flagship Ark Innovation ETF, both of which have nursed big losses in the past 12 months.
Tiger Global is also a prolific investor in private markets and holds stakes in more billion-dollar private start-ups than any other firm, according to CB Insights. It has recently gained notoriety for something else: a fast-paced style of investing that has unsettled the clubby ranks of Silicon Valley venture capitalists.