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Global hedge fund assets surge 19 per cent to USD2.48trn, says report

Global hedge fund assets under management in global hedge funds reached nearly USD2.5trn at the end of June, an increase of more than 19 per cent since the beginning of this year, according to publishing and research firm HedgeFund Intelligence.

The survey follows HedgeFund Intelligence's previous global review, published in March, which found that industry assets had cleared the USD2trn mark by the end of last year and were growing at 30 per cent a year. The survey covers only single-manager hedge funds, not funds of hedge funds.

The mid-year survey, conducted with more than 5,000 single-manager hedge funds using the same methodology as the original survey, indicated that by July industry assets had grown to USD2.481trn and that the annualised growth rate had risen to 38 per cent.

The survey found that with hedge funds averaging investment performance of just over 6 per cent in the first half of this year, according to HedgeFund Intelligence's Global Composite Index, about two-thirds of the increase in assets came from net inflows of new money from investors.

The bulk of assets remain in the hands of the so-called billion-dollar club now comprising 372 firms that each manages more than USD1bn in hedge fund assets. Between them they manage a total of USD1.892trn, or three-quarters of the industry's total assets. In January, 351 billion dollar club firms managed USD1.564trn.

According to the latest research from Absolute Return magazine, part of the HedgeFund Intelligence portfolio of publications, 246 of the these firms are based in the US, compared with 241 in January, managing a collective USD1.457trn. A further 126 other firms based outside the US also manage more than USD1bn each in assets.

New York has extended its lead as the top centre for hedge fund management globally, with the number of USD1bn-plus funds located there increasing from 123 to 139 in the first half of this year, while their collective assets soared from USD650bn to USD881bn. London remains in second place, with the number of billion-dollar firms rising from 72 to 79 and collective assets rising from USD261bn to USD316bn.

According to EuroHedge, assets in European hedge funds reached USD539bn by mid-year, up from USD460bn at the start of the year, a growth rate of about 17 per cent. As in the US, the bigger firms have got bigger, with the top 20 by assets now accounting for a total of more than USD200bn.

The latest AsiaHedge survey says that assets in Asia-Pacific hedge funds grew to about USD167bn in June, up from about USD147bn at the start of the year, with net outflows of about USD10bn from Japan equity funds being more than offset by rapid growth in non-Japan funds.

The survey identifies Australia as the region's largest centre for hedge fund managers, and the country with the most members in the billion dollar club - albeit just eight - after the US and UK.

According to InvestHedge, which tracks investors in hedge funds, an increasing proportion of the new money flowing in is coming from institutional investors, with the majority of it allocated via funds of funds.

'The latest Global Survey shows that the hedge fund industry has continued to thrive, and attract increasing asset flows,' says Neil Wilson, managing director of HedgeFund Intelligence.

'While these figures are only to July, and don't take account of the turbulence the industry endured in August, they indicate an industry still in robust health. The survey has also shown, despite the speculation that it may be overtaken by London as the world's financial centre, that New York remains the most favoured location of the world's top hedge fund traders and talent.'

Behind New York, the state of Connecticut accounted for 32 billion-dollar managers with assets of USD200, California had 24 managers and USD109bn in assets, and Massachusetts had 14 managers and USD83bn in assets. Texas has 11 billion-dollar firms, New Jersey eight and Illinois six. Outside the US and UK, Paris and Hong Kong has seven billion-dollar firms, Singapore has six, Japan four, Bermuda, Russia and Sweden three each and Norway two.

According to HedgeFund Intelligence, JP Morgan is the world's largest hedge fund manager, with USD56.2bn split between JPMorgan Asset Management and Highbridge Capital Management, followed by Goldman Sachs with USD39.9bn and D.E. Shaw with USD34bn.

Other leading US managers are Bridgewater Associates (USD32.1bn), Och-Ziff Capital Management and Renaissance Technologies (each USD29.2bn), Farallon Capital Management (USD26.1bn), Barclays Global Investors (USD23bn) and Tudor Investment Corporation (USD20.9bn). The only non-US manager listed in the top 10 is the UK's Man Investments with USD23bn.

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