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Hedge funds suffer largest quarterly withdrawals since ‘09

IEFA traded about $3.9 billion in value on Tuesday, the most since Jan. 30.
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Investors pulled a net $33 billion from hedge funds in the first quarter, the most in more than a decade.

The total is about 1% of industry capital, and the largest quarterly outflow since investors yanked about $42 billion in the second quarter of 2009, according to a report Wednesday from Hedge Fund Research. In all of 2019, investors pulled $43.1 billion.

Some of the industry’s largest names took a hit in last month’s market tumult, including funds run by Ray Dalio, Michael Hintze and Adam Levinson. The managers suffered losses as the coronavirus crisis brought much of the global economy to a standstill.

Still, a slew of firms are welcoming fresh money, hoping to buy the market dip and capitalize on those investors that may be ready to open their wallets to take advantage of the market dislocations.

“Investors reacted to the unprecedented surge in volatility and uncertainty driven by the global coronavirus pandemic with a historic collapse in investor risk tolerance and the largest capital redemption from the hedge fund industry since post-financial crisis,” HFR President Kenneth Heinz said in the report.

“People are just saying, ‘Why should I pay for an active manager when most of them lose to the benchmark anyway?’ This is a big deal,” an expert says.
April 15

“While volatility and market dynamics remain fluid through early 2Q,” he said, “dislocations created by indiscriminate selling from traditional asset management have created significant opportunities for specialized long-short funds, which are likely to benefit both forward looking funds and institutional investors in coming quarters.”

Macro hedge funds led net outflows in the period, with $22 billion leaving the strategy, HFR said. The redemptions from funds that bet on economic trends come even as they led performance among broader strategies in the quarter, down 7.3% on an asset-weighted basis. Redemptions also were concentrated in the industry’s largest firms, with clients pulling $20.6 billion from managers with more than $5 billion in assets.

Total industry capital declined to $2.96 trillion globally in the quarter, the first time assets dropped below the $3 trillion mark since 2016, HFR said. Hedge funds broadly fell 10% in the period.

Bloomberg News