June 12, 2017 / 2:53 PM / a month ago

Viking investment chief to leave, firm to return $8 bln in capital

BOSTON, June 12 (Reuters) - The chief investment officer at Viking Global Investors, one of the world's biggest hedge funds, is leaving and the firm plans to return $8 billion in capital this summer, it said on Monday.

Dan Sundheim has worked at Viking, which oversees roughly $30 billion, for 15 years and been sole chief investment officer since 2014. Firm veterans Ben Jacobs and Ning Jin will become co-chief investment officers, the firm told investors in a letter sent on Monday.

Sundheim's departure comes just months after the prominent hedge fund's flagship portfolio suffered its biggest annual loss ever in 2016 and founder Andreas Halvorsen told investors in January he was shifting the way capital was allocated.

The firm will return money from the Viking Global Equities LP and the Viking Long Fund LP funds, according to the letter.

Many hedge funds have struggled to deliver top returns in the last few years and some industry analysts suggest they might perform better if they had less capital to invest.

A number of large hedge fund managers, including David Tepper and Seth Klarman, have returned capital to investors from time to time if they were not seeing new investment opportunities.

Sundheim is leaving to pursue his own business interests, the firm said.

"(Sundheim) is in a league of his own as a stock picker and portfolio manager," according to the letter, which was read to Reuters. The 40-year-old Sundheim became sole chief investment officer in 2014 after having shared the position for several years with Tom Purcell.

Sundheim's departure was first reported by Bloomberg. (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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