Long volatility and tail risk hedge funds post strongest Q1 returns

The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index registered its strongest outperformance relative to underlying markets since October 2008, outperforming the MSCI AC World Index by 9.22 per cent in March.

Long volatility and tail risk hedge funds topped the performance tables for Q1 2020, outshining other strategies as market volatility level remained elevated during the past two months. The CBOE Eurekahedge Long Volatility Hedge Fund Index and the CBOE Eurekahedge Tail Risk Hedge Fund Index have returned 39.70 per cent and 44.29 per cent respectively over the first quarter of the year.

The Eurekahedge AI Hedge Fund Index gained 0.27 per cent in March, ending the quarter up 0.02 per cent. On a similar note, the Eurekahedge Trade Finance Hedge Fund Index and the Eurekahedge ILS Advisers Index have also recorded gains over the first quarter, with the two indices returning 0.27 per cent and 0.40 per cent respectively as of March 2020 year-to-date.

The asset-weighted Mizuho-Eurekahedge Emerging Index - USD ended March down 19.03 per cent, recording its worst month since the inception of the index. Fund managers focusing on Asia ex-Japan and Latin America have witnessed a total of USD6.7 billion net investor redemptions year-to-date.

The Eurekahedge UCITS Hedge Fund Index was down 8.51 per cent in March, underperforming non-UCITS hedge funds which were down 3.92 per cent on average during the month. The USD209.4 billion UCITS hedge fund industry has seen USD14.6 billion of performance-driven losses and USD10.1 billion of net investor outflows over the first quarter of 2020.

The Eurekahedge North American Long Short Equities Hedge Fund Index declined 7.26 per cent in March, weighed by the weak US equity market performance during the month. Underlying constituents for the index have outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 8.62 per cent as of March 2020 year-to-date.

The Eurekahedge Greater China Long Short Equities Hedge Fund Index was down 6.92 per cent in March, outperforming the Hang Seng Index by 2.75 per cent. On a year-to-date basis, the Greater China hedge fund industry has seen its AUM decline from USD30.4 billion to USD30.2 billion.

The Eurekahedge Fixed Income Hedge Fund Index was down 8.49 per cent in March as the increase in default rates and lower credit ratings resulted in the weak performance of high yield bonds. The strategic mandate witnessed USD5.0 billion of performance decline and USD3.5 billion of net outflows throughout March.

Preliminary data showed that hedge fund managers focusing on structured credit were down 24.50 per cent in March as fund managers suffer substantial losses from illiquid bond holdings and investor redemption pressure. The Eurekahedge Structured Credit Hedge Fund Index has plummeted 25.32 per cent year-to-date, recording its worst quarter since inception.

The Eurekahedge Eastern Europe & Russia Hedge Fund Index was down 18.59 per cent in March, ending the first quarter of 2020 losing 25.31 per cent. Failed negotiations between OPEC and Russia exerted significant pressure on economies reliant on the energy sector.

The Eurekahedge Billion Dollar Hedge Fund Index was down 4.99 per cent in March, bringing its year-to-date loss to 5.93 per cent. Hedge funds overseeing in excess of USD1 billion in assets have come under redemption pressure in recent months, with USD31.8 billion of net outflows recorded through Q1 2020.

Hedge fund managers utilising equity long bias, event driven and distressed debt strategies were down 18.68 per cent, 13.50 per cent, and 11.04 per cent respectively as of March 2020 year-to-date, ending the first quarter of the year at the bottom of the performance table. Equity market sell-offs, weak M&A activities and strained corporate debt market weighed heavily on the performance of these strategies in recent months.