Q Re set to fold after Soros pulls funds
Bermuda-based reinsurer Q Re is set to close after billionaire backer George Soros unexpectedly pulled his funds.
The decision to close was taken on Wednesday, according to a report in London-based Trading Risk.
Q Re was founded last year by two former RenaissanceRe executives, Michael Cash and the late Bill Riker, with the backing of Mr Soros through his hedge fund manager Soros Funds Management.
The company’s underwriter Bryan Bumsted and head of modelling Peter Skerlj were said to be negotiating their departures from Q Re.
Mr Bumsted joined the team in Bermuda last July from Lancashire Group.
Mr Soros’s surprise move runs counter to the flurry of hedge funds heading into the reinsurance sector in Bermuda, including SAC Capital, and the variety of investors backing Third Point Re.
A Q Re spokesman told Trading Risk that Soros managers felt current market conditions in the catastrophe reinsurance space did not meet their expectations for returns.
According to Trading Risk, the spokesman said Soros was “intrigued” by the insurance sector but was not certain it was the right timing to be committing capital to the market.
The Q Re vehicle will remain in place for the foreseeable future, keeping an option open for Mr Soros to return to the sector, Trading Risk said.
Q Re was a “collateralised class 3” Bermudian reinsurer focused on the retro markets. Most of its portfolio of less than $200 million was due to renew at 1 January, meaning its clients will now need to look for new capacity providers.
Trading Risk, citing a spokesperson for Q Re said: “All the firm’s clients have been informed of the decision. As a collateralised reinsurer, Q Re will hold funds backing client contracts in place should loss creep from 2011 disasters mean that claims arise under their policies.
“It’s understood the portfolio has already taken modest catastrophe losses but that this was not a factor in the decision to shut down.”
A Q Re spokesman told the publication that the firm should deliver returns that were in line with other collateralised reinsurers this year.
Trading Risk said earlier this year Soros Funds Management told its external clients it was returning their $1 billion capital and going private to manage family funds of more than $24 billion.
Soros also invested in Swiss-based re/insurer Glacier Re when it launched in 2004, along with broker Benfield and Texan hedge fund HBK Investments, before putting the firm into run-off in August 2010.
Soros Strategic Partners is also the principal backer behind Lloyd’s run-off specialist RITC Syndicate Management, which appointed advisers to consider a sale earlier this year.
However in June the firm decided to concentrate on developing the business after rejecting several suitors.
A number of top hedge funds have been making forays into reinsurance as they face increasing pressure to extend a string of big returns for their wealthy clients.