Money managers under the microscope
Polar sees thaw
Like most hedge fund firms, Polar Capital has had a tough time during the credit crisis — its full year results out today show assets practically halved between March ’08 and May ’09.
However, at the Reuters Hedge Fund & Private Equity Summit in March, Polar CEO Mark Kary said he didn’t see any further redemptions in the pipeline.
And today he told me that things have picked up since March.
Executives often want to talk about light at the end of the tunnel, but Kary can point to “small net inflows” into the group’s hedge funds, along with a small rise in assets in the past two months.
It all fits with anecdotal evidence from around the rest of the industry that the worst of redemptions is behind them. Last week in Monaco GLG’s Pierre Lagrange told me that industry flows had stabilised, while Liongate’s Randall Dillard said the firm had seen $300 mln inflows in six weeks.
Hedge funds had their worst year on record last year, losing 19 percent in extremely volatile markets, but have done much better this year, helped to some extent by a rally in equity and credit markets.
However, according to Kary, we are in for “difficult and volatile” markets for the next two-to-three years in which “it will be difficult to imagine making a lot of money in equity markets”.
Such conditions would prove a much sterner test to hedge funds than the past few months — can they really revive their claim to produce absolute returns in all markets?