The global fund-of-hedge-funds sector emerged from 2015 poorer by $12 billion, according to a new report from alternatives data provider Preqin.
Funds of hedge funds lost more than a third of the $33 billion they added in 2014, finishing the year with $807 billion under management.
Only North America-based managers grew in 2015, adding $9 billion in new assets and ending the year with $601 billion, a continuation of year-on-year growth since 2011.
European managers had a much tougher time last year, losing $14 billion to finish with $183 billion in capital. Asia/Pacific managers, after taking in $5 billion in 2014, lost $7 billion last year and ended with $18 billion under management.
Further growth in 2016 may be driven largely by performance, Preqin said. In a poll, 63% of institutional investors with allocations to funds of funds said their performance expectations had been met in 2015.
Last year, Europe-focused managers reported a 4.3% return, compared with a loss of 0.6% for their North American counterparts. Asia/Pacific-focused funds finished the year up 5.9%.
At the end of 2015, Preqin asked the institutional investors in its database with exposure to funds of funds about their investment plans in 2016. Twenty-nine percent said they would maintain their exposure, while 6% said they would reduce it and 2% would increase it.
Sixty percent of institutional investors said they had not invested in 2015 and would not do so this year.
And 2% of those who said they had not invested in 2015 said they would do so in 2016.
Preqin reported that the fund-of-hedge-funds sector remains in a period of consolidation, as more than three times as many funds closed as launched in 2015.
With the level of investment capital declining, fund managers introduced only 32 new products in 2015 (a number that is likely to increase as new data become available, Preqin said, though it probably will not exceed the 86 launches recorded in 2014).
Liquidations last year stood at 97 (and are also expected to increase).
By region, North American managers rolled out 16 new funds and liquidated 28. In Europe, eight launches were eclipsed by 51 closures, and in Asia/Pacific, 13 liquidations tilted against just two launches.
Fifty-four percent of new funds of hedge funds in the market will adopt a multistrategy aim, Preqin reported.
Nineteen percent of launches will focus on equity strategies hedge funds, and 12% will primarily provide exposure to macro strategies funds. Credit-focused vehicles accounted for 8% of new launches in 2015, up from just 1% in 2014.
Following are the 10 biggest fund-of-hedge-funds managers by assets as of Sept 30, except where noted, according to Preqin:
- Blackstone Alternative Asset Management (U.S.): $68 billion
- UBS Hedge Fund Solutions (U.S.): $35 billion
- Goldman Sachs Asset Management (U.S.): $29.2 billion (as of June 30)
- HSBC Alternative Investments (U.K.): $27.2 billion (as of June 30)
- Grosvenor Capital Management (U.S.): $27 billion
- Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners (U.S.): $22.3 billion
- Permal Group (U.S.): $22.3 billion
- BlackRock Alternative Advisors (U.S.): $21.5 billion
- Mesirow Advanced Strategies (U.S.): $13.5 billion
- SkyBridge Capital (U.S.): $12.8 billion
— Check out New Hedge Funds Offer Lower Fees but Hold Investments Tighter: Study on ThinkAdvisor.