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Surprise! Investors Happier When Hedge Funds Do Well

More investors have a positive view of the industry compared to a year ago, though hedge funds are still a tough sell, Preqin says.

  • Amy Whyte

As hedge fund performance rebounds, so has investor regard for the industry.

Forty-five percent of the 108 investors surveyed by Preqin in June said their hedge-fund portfolios met or exceeded their performance expectations, according to a statement Thursday from the alternative-assets data provider. Only 21 percent said the same when polled the year before.

More than half now say they have a generally positive or neutral view of the hedge-fund industry. Their sentiment has shifted with hedge funds now on track for their best annual performance since the financial crisis, though challenges remain for managers.

“Despite a double-digit 12-month return, and an improvement in investors’ outlook on industry performance over the next year, the long-term performance of hedge funds is still being questioned,” said Amy Bensted, Preqin’s head of hedge-fund products, in the statement. “This disappointment with returns over an extended period is having a significant impact on the industry.”

[II Deep Dive: Hedge Funds Performing Their Best Since 2009]

The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index showed ten straight months of hedge-fund gains through August for a year-to-date return of 5.5 percent. A third of investors surveyed by Preqin expected hedge funds to perform better over the next 12 months while just 6 percent predicted they would perform worse.

Despite the recent comeback, when looking at hedge funds over a three-year period, 70 percent of investors said their portfolios had fallen short of their performance expectations. Sixty-nine percent said performance remained a key concern, with 56 percent of investors who plan to seek fee changes saying hedge-fund returns don’t justify costs.

In June, 49 percent of investors planned to reduce their allocation to hedge funds over the next 12 months, up from 38 percent in December. Over the long term, 44 percent expected decrease their hedge fund investments, according to Preqin.

“Hedge funds are still a tough sell for many investors,” Bensted said.