Real Hedge Funds Don’t Need a Bull Market to Make Money

Seeking Alpha – Risk management Rule No.1: if it can happen then it will happen. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Recent events have provided good returns for some hedge funds, hard times for other hedge funds but harsher times for long only. Skilled absolute return managers don’t make money every month but they do have milder and shorter duration drawdowns than index funds.

I wrote back in January that the Dow and Nikkei would likely fall below 10,000 this year as a result of the credit crisis and owning stock index option puts has indeed been the top performing strategy this year. But those were just lucky guesses. I can’t time markets so personally I’ll be focusing on funds that can preserve capital, control drawdowns and generate alpha no matter what happens.

Flight to quality? Some real hedge funds are positive for the year even when the aggregate returns for the industry are negative. Performance dispersion is enormous in such a diverse universe. Several strategies have not been affected by prime brokers imploding, changes in short selling rules or the leverage lockdown. The best managed futures CTAs, global macro and options traders have been generating absolute returns throughout the equity and credit mayhem. Strategy diversification is so important since forecasting is difficult. Transitions from one market regime to another often requires a financial revolution.

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