Talk about reversal of fortune. Up until the economic crisis took full effect in 2008, mutual fund companies were anxious to get into the hedge fund game. Now, with investors heading to the hedge fund exits, the opposite is happening.

Permal Group, a hedge fund unit of Legg Mason, launched a go-anywhere mutual fund Tuesday, the Legg Mason Permal Tactical Allocation Fund. In January, AQR Capital Management introduced a mutual fund, the AQR Diversified Arbitrage Fund, the first in a series it is planning.

In 2005, Highbridge Capital Management launched the JPMorgan Highbridge Statistical Market Neutral mutual fund, and Highbridge is reportedly currently considering offering additional mutual funds.

Permal investors redeemed $6 billion of assets in 2008, leaving the firm with $20 billion under management, down from $38 billion at the start of the year.

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