Funds Hub

Money managers under the microscope

$3 trillion of hedge fund talent? “Absolute nonsense!”

March 23, 2009

The once-booming hedge fund industry has shrunk rapidly over the past 9 months to roughly $1-$1.4 trillion, as investors have pulled out their cash following some pretty lacklustre returns.

kfd05However, according to Mark Kary, chief executive of Polar Capital, the industry never really deserved to have grown to the best part of $3 trillion in the first place.

He told today’s Reuters Hedge Fund and Private Equity Summit in London that while hedge funds had become a “fashion item” in the good times, when it comes down to it there simply isn’t enough talent to support an industry of $3 trillion.

    “This went from a $400 billion business to a $3 trillion business in the space of seven years and I just don’t think there’s enough talent around to be able to do that,” he said.

“The idea that you can have 10,000 hedge funds all with a short book, all with a long book, all risk managing and all doing it supremely well is … absolute nonsense. It’s a skill set that only a very small number of people can execute properly.”

Some managers, such as John Paulson or Hugh Hendry, have performed very well through the crisis, but they are in the minority.

For many in the industry, who set up when times were good and then rode a rising time in all markets, it seems Kary is onto something.

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