Hedge funds industry up 9.74 per cent in 2019

The global hedge fund industry returned +1.75 per cent in December, bringing aggregate 2019 full-year returns to +9.74 per cent, according to eVestment’s December 2019 hedge fund performance data. 

2019 marked the industry’s best aggregate returns since 2013, when the industry returned +12.58 per cent.

 
For the year, Russia-, China- and Brazil-focused funds were performance leaders by a wide margin. Russia-focused funds returned +26.69 per cent for 2019, China-focused funds returned +23.15 per cent last year and Brazil-focused funds closed out 2019 at +21.68 per cent. However, where there is great reward, there can be great risk: All three of these fund categories were in the red in 2018. For Russia- and China-focused funds, the losses were substantial, with these funds returning -13.22 per cent and -16.62 per cent respectively in 2018.
 
Among primary strategies tracked by eVestment, Long/Short Equity funds were the big performance winners in 2019, returning +14.26 per cent for the year. They were also near the top for monthly returns in December, bringing in +2.34 per cent. This is quite a turnaround from the -7.01 per cent Long/Short Equity funds returned in 2018.

India-focused funds saw returns of +1.21 per cent in December, but were negative at -2.34 per cent for all of 2019. India-focused funds were the only type of hedge funds eVestment tracks that had negative full-year 2019 returns.
 
While full-year returns were almost universally positive for the year – India-focused funds being teh exception – some funds did have very weak, although positive, performance. For instance, Market Neutral Equity funds saw aggregate returns of +1.72 per cent for 2019 and Distressed funds returned only +3.57 per cent for the year.