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Portfolio > Alternative Investments > Hedge Funds

Hedge Funds Bleed Assets in First Quarter

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Hedge funds lost $14.3 billion of investor capital in the first quarter, alternatives data provider Preqin reported Thursday.

The outflows came on the heels of $8.9 billion net outflows in the fourth quarter.

In contrast, the hedge fund sector took in a net $28.8 billion in last year’s first quarter, followed by $47.5 billion in the second quarter.

This positive trend reversed in the second half as net inflows plummeted to just $3.9 billion in the third quarter before going negative at year-end.

Overall, the total assets under management held by hedge funds globally fell 0.5% in the first quarter, to $3.1 trillion.

Preqin reported that credit strategies funds had the biggest outflows, $11.9 billion, while equity strategies funds hemorrhaged $9.7 billion.

Only CTAs and multistrategy funds experienced net inflows in the first quarter, gaining $13.7 billion and $12.8 billion, respectively.

Over the past four quarters, multistrategy and commodity trading advisor funds enjoyed the largest net inflows, $28.1 billion and $27 billion, while macro strategies lost $28.8 billion in investor capital, the largest net outflow among strategies.

Event-driven, macro, relative value and credit strategies funds all suffered net outflows in three of the past four quarters.

Preqin analysts found that net asset flows in the first quarter strongly correlated with 2015 performance.

Fifty-three percent of funds that returned more than 5% last year saw net inflows in the first three months of the year, and only 36% had net outflows. In contrast, just a quarter of funds that returned less than 5% in 2015 experienced inflows, while 53% had net outflows.

Preqin said its survey of investors in November found that 32% planned to reduce their exposure to hedge funds in 2016, while 25% planned to increase their allocations. This was the first time more investors planned to pull back than forge ahead since Preqin began tracking flow data in 2009.

The survey showed that 29% of investors planned to increase their exposure to CTAs in 2016, among the highest proportion of any leading strategy.

Only 8% of investors planned to increase their exposure to credit strategies funds, the lowest of any leading strategy, compared with 15% that planned to decrease their exposure.

Out of Here

New York City’s largest pension fund will take matters a step farther. Earlier this month, the board of the $51 billion New York City Employees Retirement System voted to exit all its hedge fund investments.

NYCERS had $1.7 billion invested in hedge funds at the end of September, or 2.8% of total assets, Reuters reported, citing the pension fund’s financial report. As of Jan. 31, unaudited data from the city comptroller’s office showed the pension’s hedge fund exposure was $1.4 billion, Reuters said.

According to its financial report, the pension paid some $40 million in fees to hedge funds during its 2015 financial year, ended June 30, while its hedge fund portfolio returned 3.9% over the financial year.

In 2015, the hedge fund portfolio lost 1.9%, according to Bloomberg. Three-year returns were 2.8%.

NYCERS was not the first pension funds to pull assets from hedge funds. In 2014, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest public pension fund, slashed its allocation.

— Check out What Fund Managers Aren’t Telling You Can Hurt You on ThinkAdvisor.


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