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Money managers under the microscope

What a difference a year makes

July 10, 2009

Last year’s record poor year for the hedge fund industry was a boom period for managed futures.

rtxc6vaMonths of falling equity prices, plus a first half of rising oil prices followed by a second half of falling oil prices provided some great trends for these computer-driven funds to follow.

But 2009 is an altogether different prospect.

Latest data from HFR shows hedge funds in general made a gain of 0.13 percent in June, taking first half performance to 9.41 percent.

In contrast, managed futures are struggling. Credit Suisse/Tremont shows them down 5.23 percent in the first five months of the year.

And Man Group, whose trading statement is out today, has been hit by flagship strategy AHL which, although long term performance is excellent, is down around 15 percent year-to-date.

Man are not alone. Winton Capital’s Futures Fund, which made 20.99 percent last year, is down an estimated 7 percent in the first half.

Executives at such firms tend to point to what is usually a strong long-term track record, adding that market conditions will obviously suit their strategies at some times more than others.

How long-sighted will investors prove? Man said at today’s AGM in Westminster that the signs are investors are choosing to remember last year’s good performance, and a pick-up in retail sales backs that up. But everyone involved will be hoping for a revival of trends in the market pretty quickly.

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