Managed Futures AUM: How Big is It Exactly?

We tweeted the other day that Managed Futures mutual funds had seen 20 straight months of inflows, and that got us to thinking it was high time to do our annual look at how many assets there are under management in the managed futures industry.

Now, for those who don’t know – we have a bit of a problem with the usual numbers reported as assets under management in the space by Barclayhedge, who include the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater in the managed futures asset total.  In our opinion, this does a disservice to investors, vendors, and business people in the industry trying to gauge the size of the space and where they fit into it.  Add to that the fact that Winton is a $30 Billion+ manager who tends to dominate the asset raising in the space, and it’s not too big of a stretch to say the majority of assets as reported by BarclayHedge are from just two firms (Bridgewater and Winton).

That’s led us to pick apart the numbers a bit and report what the “real” assets and asset growth look like without those two stalwarts (one of which is not managed futures based at all). Without further ado, here’s what the rest of the space looks like:

Managed Futures Total Assets 2015 Managed Futures AUM
Managed Futures AUM

[drizzle]What about the Growth in assets:

Here’s where things get interesting, because while stripping out Bridgewater and Winton in years past showed a shrinking industry (the “field”) without those two big dogs, 2015 showed quite the opposite. The so called “field” added around $18 Billion in 2015 (22% growth), although we can see from the graphic that assets are still down from their 2008 levels with the growth just negative since then.

Managed Futures AUM: How Big is It Exactly?

Growth of MF in 2015 Managed Futures AUM

  • Assets of “the field” grew by 22% in 2015
  • Assets of “the field” is still down $4 Billion since ‘08
  • “The field” raised $22 Billion in the final 3 quarters of ‘15
  • AQR is, for now, a member of our ‘field’, but at $10.9 Billion and $2.6 billion raised in 2015, may need to be split out in the near future

Managed Futures AUM: How Big is It Exactly? – What’s the takeaway?

The larger takeaway is that investors who seemingly forgot about the 2008 financial crisis and how well managed futures do in such periods are starting to remember where they put the diversification keys… and are starting to put real money to work with real managers, not just the Wintons and AQRs of the world – who need more assets like a hole in the head. Here’s to more growth ahead, not just from investors allocating funds, but from the managers multiplying those funds via their trading strategies as well.

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