Hedge funds are losing their secretive status

Times Online – People who run hedge funds hate the way the press describe them as “secretive”. A quick Google of “hedge funds” shows what a cliche it has become. Hedge funds are “notoriously secretive” and “super-secretive”; they live in a “secretive world”.

But sadly, for an increasing number of them, the secret is finally out.

The promise behind this $2 trillion universe was that its managers would make money whether markets went up or down. But the turmoil in the financial world is proving too much for many of them. All of a sudden the Masters of the Universe are failing fast.

The average hedge fund has lost more than 4% this year, according to Hedge Fund Research, putting the industry on course for its worst year on record. New investments in hedge funds for the first six months of 2008 fell below $30 billion, compared to $118 billion for the same period last year.

The hedge fund manager has become the Gatsby figure of our era. But his fall will be felt by more than Manhattan estate agents, art galleries and Porsche dealers. Over the past decade, the hedge fund industry has grown fivefold, pumped up with billions from corporate and public pension funds and university endowments looking for market-beating returns.

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