Sat, May 15, 2021
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Industry Updates

Hedge funds recorded their best annual performance since 2009 despite the ongoing pandemic

Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Opalesque Industry Update - The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index was up 3.41% in December 2020, supported by the strong performance of the global equity market as represented by MSCI ACWI (Local) which gained 4.04% during the month. In 2020, global hedge funds ended the year in double-digit performance with 11.77% return, recording their best annual performance in over a decade, despite the ongoing pandemic crisis. In the earlier months of 2020, the widespread of COVID-19 forced non-essential businesses to temporarily cease their operations. This in turn caused a shutdown of broader economic activity resulting in the sharp increase in unemployment rate.

Unemployment rate reached 14.8% in April 2020 in the US - a level that has not been seen since the Great Depression. However, risk assets made a strong comeback since end-March, supported by the massive economic stimulus, low-interest rates, reopening of the major economies, and positive development of COVID-19 vaccines which boosted the performance of the global equity market. Over the month of December, global hedge funds benefitted from the strong rally of risk assets driven by the deployment of several COVID-19 vaccines and the passage of the new COVID-19 relief bill in the US, which was the second-largest economic stimulus in American history. In the US, NASDAQ Composite was up 5.65% in December, bringing its 2020 return to 43.64% compared to 19.30% of S&P 500. The tech-companies particularly the FAANG group strongly benefitted from the ongoing pandemic as seen from the 80.75% return of AAPL throughout the year. In the same vein, the post-Brexit trade agreement between the UK and EU boosted the performance of the equity market in the region, with the DAX gaining 3.22% during the month, while the FTSE100 returned 3.10% over the same period respectively.

Returns were positive across geographic mandates in December with North American hedge funds gaining 3.99%, outperforming their Asia ex-Japan and European peers who returned 3.26% and 2.39% respectively. Across strategies, CTA/managed futures, long/short equities, and event-driven fund managers were up 4.24%, 4.17%, and 3.66% respectively throughout the month.

Roughly 88.0% of the underlying constituents of the Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index posted positive returns in December, and 40.0% of the hedge fund managers in the database were able to maintain double-digit returns throughout in 2020.

Below are the key highlights for the month of December 2020:

Hedge fund managers were up 3.41% in December, underperforming the global equity market as represented by the 4.04% return of the MSCI ACWI (Local) during the month. On a year-to-date basis, hedge fund managers were up 11.77% in 2020, concealing their worst quarterly performance of 7.85% in the first quarter since the inception of the index. Around 32.9% of the constituents of the Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index funds have outperformed the global equity market throughout the year.

On an asset-weighted basis, hedge funds were up 3.63% in December, as captured by the Eurekahedge Asset Weighted Index - USD. The index is only up 4.59% year-to-date, highlighting the struggles for some of the larger asset managers this year.

The Eurekahedge Greater China Hedge Fund Index was up 3.67% in December, bringing its 2020 performance to 32.54% which marks its best annual performance since 2009. In the same vein, assets under management of the Greater China mandate increased from US$67.8 billion to US$88.0 billion since end-2019, attributed to both strong investor inflows and performance-based growth of US$7.8 billion and US$12.4 billion respectively.

The Eurekahedge Long Short Equities Hedge Fund Index was up 4.17% in December, which brings its accumulative return since end-March to 31.82%. In terms of year-to-date return, long/short equities mandate were up 16.68% - recording their strongest annual performance since 2009 and second consecutive year of double-digit performance.

Emerging market hedge funds gained 3.85% in December as captured by the Eurekahedge Emerging Market Hedge Fund Index. On a year-to-date basis, emerging market mandate outperformed their developed market counterparts as they returned 16.00%, compared to the 14.82%, 4.44% and 0.38% of the North American, European and Japanese mandate respectively.

The Eurekahedge Structured Credit Hedge Fund Index was up 3.48% during the month, extending its nine-month trailing return to 24.57% since end-March. In terms of year-to-date return, structured credit hedge funds were down 2.95% as of December 2020, underperforming their fixed income and distressed debt peers who returned 5.38% and 4.02% respectively.

Fund managers focusing on cryptocurrencies were up 24.42% in December as tracked by the Eurekahedge Crypto-Currency Hedge Fund Index, supported by the extraordinary performance of Bitcoin which ended the year at US$28,000 level - a far cry from its 2017 peaked. On a year-to-date basis, cryptocurrency hedge funds gained 194.23% compared to the 296.74% return of Bitcoin throughout the year.

What do you think?

   Use "anonymous" as my name    |   Alert me via email on new comments   |   
Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing


  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. U.S.: Hedge funds facing Biden tax threat grab toehold in Puerto Rico[more]

    From Bloomberg: With Democrats pushing for higher taxes on the richest Americans to fund President Joe Biden's infrastructure and climate initiatives, hedge fund managers are taking refuge in Puerto Rico. ExodusPoint Capital Management and Millennium Management have established subsidiaries on t

  2. SPACs: SoftBank-backed Better to go public in $7.7bn SPAC deal, Turmoil in the SPAC market, SPACs that raise a lot of money will struggle to find startups, Biotech firm Ginkgo to merge with Harry Sloan-led SPAC in $17.5 billion deal[more]

    SoftBank-backed Better to go public in $7.7bn SPAC deal From PE Insights: SoftBank Group Corp-backed Better HoldCo said on Tuesday it will go public through a merger with a blank-check firm sponsored by investment firm Novator Capital, valuing the mortgage startup at $7.7bn. As p

  3. Hedge fund Tiger Global beats out Silicon Valley VCs, invests in 110 startups so far[more]

    From Business Insider: Tiger Global, a $65 billion hedge fund, is squeezing out venture capital firms to invest in startups. The company has taken part in 110 startup financings so far in 2021, according to PitchBook. Venture capitalists say its speed and sky-high valuations lead to its success

  4. SPACs: Why the 'SPAC Mafia' hedge funds aren't worried about SEC regulation, Bill Ackman's cagey SPAC update sends shares soaring as investors dream up a mega-deal, Arqit raising $400m with a SPAC to launch quantum encryption satellites in 2023[more]

    Why the 'SPAC Mafia' hedge funds aren't worried about SEC regulation From Business Insider: After a yearlong bout of SPAC mania, the red-hot market for blank-check companies is cooling down as regulators direct their attention to it. March was a record-breaking month for special-purpose

  5. Private strategies pay off for Tiger Global, other hedge fund titans[more]

    From Institutional Investor: Hedge funds' strategies to invest in private markets have been driving returns at a number of firms this year. Third Point, Greenlight, Tiger Global, and Maverick received big boosts in the first quarter from their private investing strategies. That shouldn't be a