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Hedge funds turn to “long-only” investing in bid to grow

(Reuters) – Half of hedge funds now sell products traditionally the preserve of mainstream asset managers such as “long-only” strategies, a study shows, reflecting how conservative investors have come to dominate the industry’s client base.

Hedge funds have made their name wagering on asset prices both rising and falling, and often increase the risk of their bets with borrowed cash. By contrast, traditional long-only managers can only bet the price of a stock or bond will go up.

But many hedge funds are now branching out into long-only products in an effort to diversify and expand their business, putting them in direct competition with fund managers like Schroders (SDR.L), Standard Life (SL.L) and Pimco.

This shift underlines how more risk-averse investors, which tend to put most of their money in traditional assets such as bonds and stocks, are seen as representing the industry’s best source of future growth, encouraging managers to curtail the free-wheeling ways of the past.

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