BOSTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - John Griffin is shutting his $6 billion Blue Ridge Capital hedge fund after more than two decades, becoming the latest high profile investor to liquidate his business as industry returns have been under pressure.
"After 30 years in the hedge fund business, I have decided it is time to close our funds and for me to start a new chapter," the 54-year-old investor wrote to clients on Friday.
Griffin got his start in the $3 trillion hedge fund industry when legendary investor Julian Robertson hired him to work at Tiger Management 30 year ago.
Griffin started as an analyst and rose through the ranks to become Tiger's president in 1993. Three years later he left to launch Blue Ridge with $55 million in assets. He is one of the original "Tiger Cubs," Robertson's protégées, including fund managers like Andreas Halvorsen and Lee Ainslie, who went on to launch their own firms and manage billions for pension funds and wealthy investors.
Now Griffin joins well-known investors Eric Mindich, Neil Chriss and John Burbank who all announced plans to close their hedge funds this year. David Stemerman, who ran Conatus Capital, shut his fund to explore a run for governor in Connecticut. Paul Tudor Jones earlier this month said he was restructuring his Tudor Investment Corp after deciding to liquidate one portfolio.
Griffin's decision to shutter his firm, whose assets peaked at $9 billion in 2013, illustrates how difficult it has been to make money and retain investors at a time stock markets have rallied and less expensive index funds have taken in billions in new assets.
While 2017 has been a better year for hedge funds, returns over the last years have been modest, with many prominent investors nursing big losses.
"This can be a humbling business and many times we were tested, especially on the short side," Griffin wrote in his letter, which was seen by Reuters.
Griffin, who generally avoided the industry limelight, earned investors an average 15.4 percent a year over more than two decades. He wrote that he is "proud of how we earned our returns." The S&P 500 returned 8.6 percent a year during the same time.
Griffin, who has been active in supporting charitable causes like fighting poverty, did not say what he may do next.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Leslie Adler)