Jason Karp

A $3.7 billion hedge fund firm has some insight on how to hire top talent: Look for malleable people.

In an investor letter this month, Tourbillon Capital Partners’ Jason Karp wrote that his firm had looked at dozens of experienced candidates in recent months. The exercise was not particularly fruitful, however.

“There are a lot of bad values and habits out there that have been learned from this last regime,” Karp wrote in the letter, a copy of which Business Insider saw.

Instead, the New York firm is looking to hire more “malleable” recruits. Two MBA interns from the summer of 2016 are joining full time this summer, and the firm has just hired two more interns for the summer of 2017, according to the letter.

Hedge funds have long raced to find top talent. Legendary investor Steve Cohen said last year that he had trouble finding solid recruits. The billionaire’s family office, Point72 Asset Management, has been running a training program for recent college grads.

Here’s an excerpt from the Tourbillon letter:

“Fortunately, we have found that some of this hedge fund tumult has created a ripe environment for talent. As such, we have interviewed and met with several dozen candidates in all areas of our investment team. We have found, however, that there are a lot of bad values and habits out there that have been learned from this last regime and consequently, we are focusing much more time on identifying malleable individuals.”

The Tourbillon Global Master Fund returned -9.2% last year after posting a -1.8% drop for the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the letter.

“This was the worst year in my 18-year career,” Karp wrote, adding that most of the underperformance was attributable to the first quarter.

Karp wrote that the firm’s flagship fund posted a 8.1% return with a 13.5% net market exposure from the second quarter through the end of the year — making the period “one of our better three quarter alpha periods since inception.”

The firm manages about $3.7 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be named because the information is private.

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