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Bloodbath in Mayfair as half of all hedge funds face termination

Guardian Unlimited – Lights flicker and numbers flash up on small dials at the front of two computer servers nicknamed Meg Ryan and Jamie Lee Curtis by traders at the London headquarters of hedge fund giant Man Group.

The shiny new technology is part of the nerve centre of AHL, one of Man’s most successful hedge funds, which has notched up returns of 7 per cent in the past month alone, despite the financial turmoil.

Others in the industry have been less fortunate. Analysts warn that global hedge funds are facing the biggest bloodbath since their rapid expansion in the early 1990s, especially in Britain, where about half of 2,000 firms are expected to be taken over by larger rivals or liquidated.

But don’t expect the funds to shout from the rooftops about their travails. They are notoriously secretive, preferring to work quietly in a sector conservatively estimated to account for around $2trn at the height of the boom.

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