Alt Investments

Hedge Funds Set Stronger Performance Pace Last Year - Preqin

Tom Burroughes Group Editor 30 January 2014

Hedge Funds Set Stronger Performance Pace Last Year - Preqin

More data confirms that last year was a better - if by no means stellar - one for the global hedge fund industry.

The world’s $2.63 trillion hedge fund industry logged gains on average of 11.08 per cent last year, ahead of the 10.3 per cent gain in the previous year, if not as strong as the rise in the value of equities in 2013, according to Preqin, the research firm.

The gains certainly represent a turnaround from the average loss for hedge funds of -1.93 per cent in 2011, a generally lousy year for a sector hit by an unexpected spike in volatility as fears swirled of an end to the eurozone.

Investors are largely satisfied with the performance in 2013; some 84 per cent of investors interviewed for the 2014 Preqin Global Hedge Fund Report stated that returns expectations had been met or exceeded in 2013.

Among other findings, were that 21 per cent of investors stated returns expectations had been exceeded, the highest level since Preqin started collecting this data in 2008.

The worst returns came from macro strategies, which added only 2.42 per cent last year. (One explanation for this from the industry is that opportunities to earn positive “carry” from interest rate differentials have been hit by an extended long period of ultra-low global interest rates.) Another laggard came in the form of CTA funds (although these are not, strictly speaking, hedge funds and are not included in Preqin’s benchmark of hedge fund returns), making only 0.08 per cent, taking three-year annualised returns to just 0.85 per cent.

Strong performing strategies included equity long-short and event-driven funds.

Funds of funds posted their highest net returns since 2009, gaining 7.72 per cent; January was the best month throughout 2013 for hedge fund performance, with net returns of 2.44 per cent.

The hedge fund benchmark was in the red for two months in 2013 – down 1.53 per cent in June and 0.14 per cent in August.

Relative value funds made gains of 7.14 per cent in 2013, and have the lowest three-year volatility of any hedge fund strategy at 1.58 per cent.

Top-quartile funds made returns of almost 30 per cent.

“Much of the recent criticism faced by hedge funds has focused on hedge fund benchmarks being outperformed by leading equity indices, such as the S&P 500. In 2013, the Preqin Hedge Fund Index, a benchmark of average hedge fund returns, again lagged the S&P 500; however, despite this, investors are satisfied with the performance of hedge funds in 2013,” Amy Bensted, head of hedge fund products, said.

Register for WealthBriefing today

Gain access to regular and exclusive research on the global wealth management sector along with the opportunity to attend industry events such as exclusive invites to Breakfast Briefings and Summits in the major wealth management centres and industry leading awards programmes