By Maiya Keidan and Olivia Oran
NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Investment Partners (GSIP), which opened in 2008 with one of the biggest launches in hedge fund history, is folding its London operations into the United States and shifting staff members to New York, four sources told Reuters.
About eight staff members who made up the London team were recently told to move to the Battery Park City headquarters of Goldman Sach Group Inc <GS.N> in lower Manhattan or find a new job internally, the sources said.
A Goldman spokesman confirmed the move but not the details, adding that the reasons for the staff shift were not related to Brexit.
"This is a discrete decision for reasons specific to GSIP, one investment team within Goldman Sachs, and shouldn’t be construed as anything but that," he said.
The move was triggered by managing director Nick Advani, who led the hedge fund's London operations, the sources said. He said in June he would be stepping down from his role, they said, requesting anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
Advani, now an advisory director at Goldman, did not respond to requests for comment. Advani is expected to leave the firm later this year, the sources said.
Managing director Raluca Ragab, who had been formally leading the London-based team since Advani's departure, will also leave Goldman once the move is complete, one of the sources said. Ragab's departure is for personal reasons, one of the sources added.
Multi-strategy hedge fund GSIP launched in November 2008 with $7 billion in assets, one of the largest hedge fund launches at the time. GSIP, run globally by co-heads Raanan Agus and Kenneth Eberts, sits within Goldman's asset management division.
But a focus on value investing with around 20 positions mainly in equities became more challenging in recent years, a former employee told Reuters.
GSIP's Global Long Short Partners Offshore fund posted losses of 8.2 percent in the year to end-September in 2016 after small gains of 1.5 percent in 2015, according to an investor letter reviewed by Reuters.
Last September, three of the fund's top five credit positions were in the Europe Middle East and Africa region, according to the letter.
GSIP's assets fell in 2014 after Goldman pulled out $2.8 billion in response to the U.S. Dodd-Frank financial reform law and the Volcker rule, which restricted banks' proprietary trading. The fund now manages around $3.5 billion.
Separately, Goldman may move up to 1,000 staff out of London in response to Britain's vote to leave the European Union, it was reported last month.
(Reporting by Maiya Keidan in London and Olivia Oran ia New York, additional reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Simon Jessop; Editing by Tom Brown and David Gregorio)