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Hedge funds enjoy inflows in March amid equity market correction industry assets hit all-time high

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Opalesque Industry Update - Hedge fund investors held their ground in March 2018, according to the Barclay Fund Flow Indicator, even as the equity market correction entered its second month. Industry assets climbed to an all-time high of $3.0 trillion.

Data drawn from more than 5,000 hedge funds in the BarclayHedge database estimated that the hedge fund industry, exclusive of CTAs, added $6.1 billion (0.2% of assets) in March, down 64.0% from February. Hedge funds have added assets in 10 of the past 12 months, according to the Barclay Fund Flow Indicator, a monthly big-picture report on the health of the alternative investments industry.

"The long-running U.S. bull market in equities and the more recent upturns in economies worldwide have put hedge fund assets on a tear for the past half-decade," said Sol Waksman, founder and president of BarclayHedge. "Assets have surged 22.1% in the past 12 months, 28.9% in the past two years, and 42.6% since March 2013."

Fixed Income hedge funds enjoyed the heaviest inflows in the trailing 12 months ending in March ($33.6 billion, 7.3% of assets), the Barclay report estimated. Macro funds suffered the heaviest outflows in the same time span (-$16.9 billion, -7.7% of assets).

At the regional level, funds focusing on the U.K. and Europe had the highest inflows ($9.2 billion, 1.5% of assets; and $2.6 billion, 0.3% of assets, respectively) in March. U.S.-focused funds endured the biggest outflows (-$6.3 billion, -0.4% of assets).

"Jitters over trade policy and potential tariffs coming out of Washington, D.C., appear to have lured hedge fund investors to relative stability across the Atlantic," Waksman said.

In March, commodity trader adviser (CTA) funds suffered outflows for the first time in more than a year (-$278.6 million, -0.1% of assets), according to the Fund Flow Indicator. Industry assets totaled $367.3 billion in March.

"In spite of the small setback in March, CTA assets grew 4.6% over the trailing 12 months," Waksman said. "The global rebound in commodities prices has pushed CTA assets up 11.9% from their interim low of $328.2 billion in October 2014."

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