Barclay CTA Index gained 7.5 per cent in eighth straight year of positive returns

Managed futures funds gained 7.54 per cent last year, according to data compiled by Fairfield, Iowa-based BarclayHedge. 'In 2007, the Barclay CTA Index marked its eighth straight year of positive returns,' says BarclayHedge founder and president Sol Waksman. 'Since 2000, managed futures have provided an compound annual return of 5.67 per cent.'

Over the past 28 years, the Barclay CTA Index has had only three losing years - in 1992, 1994 and 1999 - with minor losses of 0.91 per cent, 0.65 per cent and 1.19 per cent respectively.

'The managed futures industry has provided comfortable, stable growth for investors for many years,' says Waksman. 'Dr. John Linter's seminal study in 1983 was the first academic acknowledgment of the potential diversification benefits arising from a prudent allocation to the managed futures sector.

'But it took another 20 years before the managed futures industry finally came into its own. Since the beginning of 2003, assets under management have grown rapidly from USD51bn to approximately USD190bn today.'

All eight of Barclay's CTA indexes were profitable last year. The Barclay Diversified Traders Index was up 11.50 per cent, Systematic Traders returned 8.68 per cent, Financial and Metals Traders gained 7.33 per cent, and Discretionary Traders rose 6.43 per cent.

'The chaos in the sub-prime mortgage market has created significant challenges for equity and fixed-income markets, as well as for hedge funds,' Waksman says. 'Fortunately, most managed futures investors were able to dodge the negative fallout from the sub-prime mortgage market. One exception is the group of unlucky investors impacted by the fraud at Sentinel Management Group, a mutual fund management firm based in Northbrook, Illinois.'

The Barclay BTOP50 Index, which monitors performance of the largest traders, rose 7.68 per cent in 2007. Since 2000, the BTOP50 Index has compounded at a rate of 6.97 per cent per year.

BarclayHedge, formerly known as the Barclay Group, was founded in 1985 and actively tracks more than 6,600 hedge funds, funds of hedge funds and managed futures programmes. Barclay has created and regularly updates 18 proprietary hedge fund indexes and eight managed futures indexes used as performance benchmarks for the hedge fund and managed futures industries by institutional investors, brokerage firms and private banks.

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