It looks like the average hedge fund was up between 7 percent and 10 percent last year, based on early reporting from the databases. Of course, these databases are not exactly empirically precise, given that they include different funds, depend on a fund voluntarily reporting, and dont include funds that choose to stop reporting mid-year for a variety of reasons, including lousy returns.
So, a better indication of how hedge funds fared is to look at the individual returns. A handful of funds racked up returns exceeding 20 percent. For example, I reported last week one of the best performers last year was Jim Simons logic-defying Medallion, which was up more than 30 percent. Before deducting its 5 percent management fee and 44 percent performance fee, it was up more than 60 percent gross.
Dan Loebs Third Point Offshore was up nearly 34 percent net of its fees.
Bill Ackmans Pershing Square surged nearly 22 percent last year.
John Paulsons Gold fund was up about 35 percent while Paulson Enhanced rose more than 26 percent. The rest were up between 11 percent and 19 percent.
Otherwise, a large number of high-profile funds surged in the mid-teens area. One of the hottest funds in recent years Chris Levetts Clive Fund was up more than 17 percent with one week to go. The commodities fund is said to manage about $3.7 billion these days.
A number of multistrategy or macro funds are also generating mid-teens returns. They include Stevie Cohens SAC Capital, which was up about 15 percent, according to investors.
Over in London, David Hardings Winton Futures fund was up closer to 14.30 percent. BlueCrest Capitals BlueTrend, which is quantitatively-driven, was up 16 percent while the firms multistrat fund AllBlue was up a little over 8 percent.
Other funds that generated close to mid-teens returns include Izzy Englanders Millennium Partners, up about 13.3 percent, and Richard Perrys Perry Capital, which rose about 14.6 percent.
A few high profile funds came up short of the market averages. Ken Griffins Citadel generated 10 percent returns at his main funds, while Paul Tudor Jones IIs Tudor BVI climbed just 7.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Louis Bacons Moore Macro Managers was up 105 percent while Moore Global was up just 3 percent. This data is through December 16.