Money managers under the microscope
GLG Partners has confirmed positive client money flows are back on the agenda, reporting net sales of $2.2 billion in the second quarter in a trading statement which sparked a rise in the share price. The company also reckons strong performance among its funds has set the scene for more to come.
Barclays Capital last month predicted net inflows could reach as much as $50 billion in 2009, and GLG shows the numbers are starting to come through to support that theory. Of about 300 investors, BarCap found that some 80 percent were expecting to move back out of cash and into hedge funds this year.
The argument goes that investors burned by 2008 will get greedy again, and aggressively seek out the quickest route they can see to recoup the losses. If that theory proves true then perhaps investors were not as spooked as some have thought by the imposition of gates to redemptions when the crisis was at its height.
Longer term, it will be interesting to see if flows can recover enough to send total assets back to pre-crisis levels, because the revived love affair with hedgies is hugely vulnerable to fresh market wobbles, and is not universal. Trustees of the $40 billion Massachusetts’ state pension fund on Wednesday voted to scrap its portable alpha strategy and slash absolute return fund allocations by a quarter.
It seems that investors will have long memories of how hedge funds behaved in the bad times when it finally comes to putting money back into the industry again.
The wipeout of 50, 60 or 70 percent of the industry that was predicted by some commentators last year hasn’t quite happened, partly because redemptions have slowed dramatically of late, partly because some smaller firms are still limping along in the hope that conditions will improve soon, and partly because many funds imposed gates last year, limiting investors’ ability to get their money out.
BNY Mellon’s look at the “Hedge Fund of Tomorrow” has gained some column inches for its confirmation that wealthy Europeans have proven decidedly disloyal to the hedge funds who lined their pockets during the good times.
Rapid exits from European HNWs have apparently created an industry which is more American, and more institutional. BNY Mellon and research firm Casey Quirk expect assets to recover, and more than double within 4 years. Small beer given previous growth rates, but beggars can’t be choosers.