Ayer Capital Health-Care Hedge Fund Said to Be Shuttering

Ayer Capital Management LP, the San Francisco-based health-care hedge-fund firm, is closing and returning capital to investors, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The firm, which had $200 million in assets at the end of 2012 and $300 million at its peak in the middle of last year, is returning the majority of client money by the end of this quarter and the rest by the end of the year, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Jay Venkatesan and Pieter Boelhouwer are Ayer’s managing directors. The firm, founded in 2008, employs eight people, the person said. Venkatesan declined to comment on the shutdown.

Hedge-fund liquidations rose in 2012 as smaller firms struggled to raise capital and industry returns trailed global stock markets for the fifth time in seven years. Liquidations increased 11 percent in the fourth quarter from the prior three months as 238 funds closed, according to Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc., and in the full year, 873 funds were shuttered, the most since 2009.

Ayer Capital Partners Fund rose 7.2 percent last year through the first week of September, according to a third-quarter presentation obtained by Bloomberg News, compared with a 15 percent gain including reinvested dividends for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Health Care Index.

Trailing Market

The fund advanced 5.1 percent in 2011 as the index climbed 13 percent; 4.1 percent in 2010, compared with 3 percent for the gauge; 18 percent in 2009 versus 20 percent; and fell 4.8 percent in the last six months of 2008 as the benchmark declined 12 percent.

Before Ayer, Venkatesan was a director at Brookside Capital LLC, an affiliate of Boston-based private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC, from 2002 to 2007, according to the person. Before that, he was an investment analyst at Patricof & Co. Ventures Inc., now known as Apax Partners LP, from 1995 to 1996. He was a business analyst at McKinsey & Co. from 1993 to 1995.

Boelhouwer was a managing director at Matrix Capital Management LLC from 2004 to 2008. Before that, he was a senior director at Empirix Inc. from 2002 to 2004, according to the person. Prior to that, he was a vice president of corporate strategy and financial partnerships at eCredit from 2000 to 2001 and domestic policy adviser to Vice President Al Gore from 1998 to 1999.

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