Sohn Conference

Hedge funder Larry Robbins advises scared investors: 'Just hang on'

Glenview's Robbins on health care M&A
Glenview's Robbins on health care M&A

Hedge fund titan Larry Robbins is involved in a business known for risks, but on Wednesday he had some uncharacteristically conservative advice.

Speaking at the prestigious Sohn Investment Conference, which has become known over the past two decades for featuring the world's top investors giving hot stock picks, Robbins instead went with a boat analogy.

He told attendees that when the water gets rough, like it has been for the markets in general but the hedge fund industry in particular, they should "just hang on tight."

"As investors, make sure you stay true to that," Robbins said. "Follow where the boat's going and don't get caught up in the different waves."

Robbins heads Glenview Capital Management and some of his most prominent calls have been centered in the health-care sector. Last year, Robbins apologized in a letter to investors for failing "to protect your capital" as his flagship fund lost money.

David Rosen speaking at the SOHN Conference, May 4, 2016.
Rising hedge fund stars at Sohn moving markets
Carson Block's next big short idea

He briefly ran through some of his biggest picks from the 2015 conference such as AbbVie and said most remain solid companies.

"My one and only advice to you that matters is if you own something where the fundamentals are good but the price performance is bad, just hang on," he said.

Robbins said the "boats" in his portfolio include Thermo Fisher Scientific, CBS and Flex Pharma.

He also took a moment to address recent criticism from Warren Buffett, who over the weekend at the annualBerkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting lashed out at hedge funds as poor performers and not worth the money.

"If you're going to criticize hedge funds for being short term, then you can't criticize them for their short-term performance," he said.