The first half of 1998 was very good to investors -- unless they had their money with certain high-profile hedge funds, most notoriously Long-Term Capital Management, which nearly collapsed during the Russian debt crisis, even as the Standard & Poor's 500 lost nearly 15 percent in August. But LTCM was hardly alone. "The list of market laggards constitutes a virtual hedge fund Who's Who," Institutional Investor noted in "Why the emperors have no clothes." The article posed a simple question that many investors struggling to understand some of this summer's credit-crunch-related losses might also be asking: "Hedge funds were designed to prosper in volatile markets. So why are so many of the biggest names suffering now?" Among the answers the authors noted: Markets were "becoming more efficient and less profitable." They also cited as problems style drift, the difficulties that come from being too large and the growing competition in the business. If that analysis of an industry on the cusp of a boom seemed too skeptical, it's worth noting, perhaps, that the authors, Riva Atlas and Hal Lux, both work in the hedge fund space today.