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Large Hedge Funds Have Performed Better Than Small Funds in Down Years

Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Author: Brian Bollen's Blog

PerTrac, a provider of analytics, reporting and communications software for investment professionals, today (October 9 2012) released the sixth annual version of its analysis of performance trends for hedge funds of different sizes and ages. The study, Impact of Size and Age on Hedge Fund Performance: 1996 - 2011, shows that the average large fund outperformed the average small fund in the negative performance years of 2008 and 2011.  During the 41 months since 1996 in which hedge funds of all sizes posted negative performance results, the average large fund lost less than the average small fund in 61% of these monthly periods.

The study, which utilises 15 leading global hedge databases, including five distinctive dead hedge fund databases to analyse the 2011 hedge fund universe, also shows that the large funds dipped 2.63% on average in 2011, the least when compared to small funds’ 2.78% and mid-size funds’ 2.95% slides. Large funds also maintained lower annualised volatility statistics relative to small funds. The study defines a fund as “small” if its assets under management (AUM) are less than $100 million, “mid-size” if assets are between $100m and $500m, and “large” if assets managed exceed $500m.

“The findings suggest that investors interested in exposure to hedge funds and seeking to protect their wealth should examine funds with over $500m in AUM, since the average large fund has had lower losses in negative performance years and lower annualised deviation figures compared to the average small fund,” said Jed Alpert, managing director of global marketing at PerTrac.

Investors with a higher volatility appetite and seeking to maximise returns should consider funds with less than $100m in AUM, since the average small fund has outperformed the average mid-size fund and average large fund in 13 out of the last 16 years.

The study also examines the impact of fund age on performance and shows that the cumulative return for the average young fund is 827%, since 1996, nearly double that of the 446% return for mid-age funds and well beyond the 350% posted by tenured funds. The report further shows that it has been an uneven journey. The average young fund has had 144 positive and 48 negative months since 1996, mid-age funds have had 136 positive and 56 negative, while tenured funds have had 129 positive and 63 negative.  The study defines a fund as “young” if its start date was within the last two years, “mid-age” if it commenced within the last two to four years, and “tenured” if it has been operating beyond four years.

For more information on PerTrac’s Impact of Size and Age on Hedge Fund Performance: 1996 – 2011, click here.