Hedge funds are bounding back, with return-hungry investors pumping up the industry to a size not seen since before the financial crisis laid it low.
The Wall Street Journalreports total hedge-fund assets are approaching $2 trillion and are soon expected to surpass their peak in early 2008. Even startups and smaller funds, which were shunned by many investors in the wake of the crisis, are benefiting.
According to the paper, the resurrection of hedge funds, which invest money for wealthy individuals, pension funds and other large investors, marks yet another sign that the effects of the financial crisis are receding.
The industry suffered its worst year on record in 2008, with the average fund losing 19%, according to Hedge Fund Research Inc. Those losses, coupled with client withdrawals and the liquidation of some funds, cut the industry's size by roughly one-quarter.
The Journal notes the industry had been clawing its way back since early 2009. Hedge funds pulled in $55.5 billion in net new money in 2010, the most since 2007, according to Hedge Fund Research. Figures for this year's first quarter also are expected to be robust.
The gains are coming despite performance that has been lackluster of late.