While many investors have begun moving away from hedge funds recently, large funds are still way up for the first half of the year. According to Absolute Return’s semi-annual Billion Dollar Club ranking, total assets for hedge funds with at least $1 billion in assets hit $1.57 trillion spread across 287 funds, reports Lawrence Delevingne for CNBC.
That’s a 7.46 percent increase since the start of the year and close to the all-time high of $1.68 trillion hit just before the financial collapse in July 2008. The group also added 19 funds to its roster this year.
Hedge funds gained billions
America’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, has $81.9 billion in assets, though it has lost $1.4 billion so far this year. The top five is rounded out by J.P Morgan Asset Management with $50.6 billion under management, Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (NYSE:OZM) with $33.9 billion, BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) with $28.7 billion and Baupost Group with $28.5 billion. JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) was the biggest gainer for the first half of the year (up $6.6 billion), followed by Adage Capital (up $4 billion) and AQR Capital Management (up $3.9 billion).
Stock markets over-performing
With stock markets over-performing and interest rates finally set to go up, hedge funds might have to compete more for business. However, a law that is about to go into effect will allow them to do just that. Starting September 23, the U.S. JOBS Act gives hedge funds the right to advertise like any other business offering a product. There have been concerns in the past that reaching out to new investors would give unscrupulous traders the opportunity to commit fraud, so hedge funds that want to advertise will have to comply with a new set of SEC regulations. The JOBS Act also gives companies a crowd sourcing alternative to the traditional IPO.
Not everyone will be interested in the additional cost of compliance, and not every fund will even want a large number of small investors to stay happy, though the extra flexibility could open up new strategies for putting funds together in the first place. However, it doesn’t seem likely that a fund composed of small investors will ever make it onto Absolute Return’s Billion Dollar Club.