Displaying items by tag: alternatives
Amid volatility that wreaked havoc on the market last year, hedge funds lost almost $125 billion worth of assets from performance losses, according to Hedge Fund Research (HFR) data. Investors also pulled their money from hedge funds last year, leading to a net outflow of $55 billion, the largest capital flight from hedge funds since 2016. This is a sharp reversal from 2021 when hedge funds saw $15 billion in net inflows. Volatility in the markets was triggered by high inflation, interest rate hikes, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Investors pulled $40.4 billion out of hedge funds that buy and sell stocks, a strategy that posted the worst performance for the year, losing $112.5 billion. Even macro funds that saw strong performance last year dealt with outflows. Institutional investors pulled $15 billion from these funds, according to HFR. In fact, the only hedge fund strategy that did see an increase in money was event-driven mergers and acquisition and credit funds that saw $4.3 billion in inflows. It was a tough year for performance overall for the hedge fund industry, as the HFRI 500 Fund Weighted Composite Index fell 4.2%. The index tracks many of the largest global hedge funds, marking the worst performance since 2018.
Finsum:The hedge fund industry lost $125 billion last year amid market volatility triggered by high inflation, interest rate hikes, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
While some alternative managers have been benefiting from the market volatility, it’s been a challenging environment for fundraising. In fact, some of the top brand-name firms are having trouble hitting their targets, let alone their hard caps, according to industry insiders. While there are several reasons for this, liquidity issues among limited partners from the "denominator effect" is high on the list. The denominator effect is when volatility in the public markets impacts fundraising in the private markets. It occurs when the value of one portion of a portfolio decreases drastically and pulls down the overall value of the portfolio. Last year, capital commitments were down 1.4% to $497.3 billion as of Dec. 22 compared to $504.3 billion in all of 2021, according to Pensions & Investments data. Private equity was the only alternative category in which both the number of funds and the amount of capital committed increased in 2022. However, fundraising by private equity funds worldwide was down 41.8% year over year in the third quarter of last year based on data from Preqin. According to Adam Bragar, New York-based head of the U.S. private equity practice of Willis Towers Watson PLC, “Whether the slowdown in commitments will continue into 2023 depends on investors' current and projected liquidity.”
Finsum: It’s been a challenging fundraising environment for alternative managers stemming from liquidity issues among limited partners due to the denominator effect.
While many hedge funds performed poorly last year, there was one strategy that had a big year, macro. According to Investopedia, a global macro hedge fund strategy is defined as a strategy that bases its holdings primarily on the overall economic and political views of various countries or their macroeconomic principles. Macro strategies performed well in last year’s volatile market, leading to strong gains for several funds. For instance, AQR Capital Management’s longest-running strategy had its best year since its inception in 1998, with the fund posting a gain of 43.5% net of fees. In fact, at least a dozen AQR funds saw record performance. AQR’s Absolute Return strategy soared 55% before fees, while the Style Premia Alternative Fund jumped 30.6%. AQR’s global macro strategy also had its best year, with a 42% gain. AGR wasn’t alone in having a strong year. Scott Bessent, who is a former Soros Fund Management investing chief, posted a 30% gain in his macro hedge fund and Chris Rokos’s $15.5 billion Macro Fund surged 51% in 2022, his best-ever gain. However, there was one notable firm that didn't perform well, Bridgewater Associates. Ray Dalio’s firm gave up much of its gains after losing money in October and November.
Finsum: Several macro hedge funds performed well last year, with at least twelve AQR funds achieving record performance.
Last year was a terrible year for the markets, even for many hedge funds. According to investment data firm Preqin, hedge fund returns were down 6.5% in 2022, the largest drop since the 13% decline in 2008 during the financial crisis. That’s why global hedge fund managers are preparing for persistent inflation by seeking exposure to commodities and bonds that perform well in inflationary environments. A majority of 10 global asset and hedge fund managers that were surveyed by Reuters said commodities are undervalued and should thrive as global inflation stays elevated this year. In addition, they are also seeking inflation-linked bonds to shield against price rises, and exposure to certain corporate credit, as higher rates restore differentiation in company bond spreads. For instance, London-based hedge fund manager, Crispin Odey is betting inflation will remain high. He told Reuters that "Commodities will start to rise again. They've sold off very heavily and are below operating costs in many instances." Danielle Pizzo, chief strategy officer at Schonfeld Strategic Advisors, told Reuters that her firm “Aims to focus more on investment grade and high-yield bonds this year as well as commodities.”
Finsum:Hedge funds, which saw the largest drop in performance last year since the financial crisis, are concerned about persistent inflation and are seeking exposure to commodities and select bonds.
One of the big investment stories of 2022 was the failure of the 60/40 portfolio. Once a beacon of stability, the portfolio failed to provide safety last year as both the equity and fixed-income markets had negative returns. So, asset management firms are now suggesting higher alternative asset allocations to achieve greater diversification for investors. Daniel Maccarrone, co-head of global investment manager analysis at Morgan Stanley, said the following in research released by the firm, “Alternative strategies, such as those focused on hedge funds, private capital, and real assets, have long been appealing as a potential source of higher yields, lower volatility, and returns uncorrelated with stocks and bonds.” His research showed that adding alternative exposure to a portfolio may reduce volatility and potentially increase returns. Alternatives such as hedge funds, private debt, and real assets are less likely to be volatile since they are less subject to interest rate fluctuations. For instance, data from January 1, 1990, through December 31, 2021, showed that a portfolio of 40% stocks, 40% bonds, and 20% alternatives experienced annual portfolio volatility that was 88 basis points less than a 50% stock, 50% bond portfolio split. It also outperformed the 50-50 portfolio by 45 basis points annually.
Finsum:With the 60/40 portfolio failing to provide safety last year, asset management firms are recommending that investors include alternative allocations for diversification and lower portfolio volatility.