Equity long/short hedge funds accounted for six of the ten top performing funds in 2013, but top honors goes to an event driven fund. The SFP Value Realization Fund ($251 million AUM) was the top performing hedge fund for the second year in a row, with an 82.12% return in 2013, up from its 44.54% return in 2012, and a 7.43% return in 2011 when almost everyone else was losing money, according to HSBC’s Investment Funds Performance Review.

SFP Value Realization Fund focused on Japan

While the SFP Value Realization fund isn’t a long/short fund, it still produced its impressive returns by investing in undervalued Japanese firms and then unlocking value as activist shareholders, a tactic that itself has gained a lot of traction this past year.

Senvest Partners Ltd Class A, an equity long/short fund with $363 million AUM, was the second best performing hedge fund with 78.64% returns in 2013, 34.81% in 2012, and a 33.96% loss in 2011 that ranked it as one of the worst performers for that year. The top five was rounded out by the Marlin Fund, also an equity long/short fund with $474 million AUM, which had 77.47% returns in 2013, 31.53% in 2012, and a 17.77% loss in 2011; the Paulson Recovery Fund (event driven, $1.503 billion AUM) had a 63.18% return in 2013, a 5.25% return in 2012, and a 27.92% loss in 2011; and the SR Global Fund H – Japan (Real Perf) (equity long/short, $110 million AUM) with a 62.51% return in 2013, a 31.05% return in 2012, and a 8.33% loss in 2011.

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Visium Balanced Offshore Fund already passed 10% mark

It’s still quite early in the year, but the Visium Balanced Offshore Fund (equity long/short, $2.625 billion AUM) has already cleared 10% returns, following 18.55% returns in 2013, 10.31% in 2012, and 1.89% in 2011. The Visium Institutional Partners Fund (equity long/short, $105 million AUM) is right behind it with 8.42% YTD returns following 20.91% returns in 2013, 5.73% in 2012, and 1.28% in 2011.

The only overlap between the two 20 hedge funds in 2013 and the top 20 year to date is the Perceptive Life Sciences Offshore Fund, LTD and the Lansdowne Developed Market Fund, LTD, but with just three weeks on the books there’s plenty of time for everyone else to catch up.

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