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Hedge fund assets hit all-time high at end of Q3, despite USD2.5bn in redemptions in September

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Despite redemptions of USD2.5 billion from hedge funds in September, Q3 ended with USD12.5 billion of inflows and the industry sitting at an all-time peak AUM, according to the latest Hedge Fund Industry Asset Flow Report from eVestment.



The proportion of funds losing assets in September was the highest of the year, and highest since December 2016. However, the proportion of managers who lost greater than 2 per cent, or greater than 5 per cent of their total AUM due to outflows was nowhere near the level seen in December. The proportion of all funds that lost greater than 2 per cent of assets from redemptions was almost right on the annual average, while the proportion of large funds losing a meaningful amount of AUM was well below their 2017 average.
 
Macro funds have been, and still remain, investors’ primary allocation target of 2017, but losses among some larger funds appear to have taken their toll. 61 per cent of macro strategies had redemptions in September, compared to only 48 per cent facing net outflows for the year. Each of the largest asset losers in September have produced performance losses YTD in 2017. Despite the elevated redemptions in September, several funds still received meaningful new allocations during the month.
 
Managed futures fund flows were negative for a third consecutive month as revised August data ultimately showed a slight outflow that month. Outflows in September were elevated, and nearly 70 per cent of reporting managers faced redemption pressures during the month. Performance has undoubtedly been the culprit, and while that part of the picture had improved in July and August, losses returned in September. The outlook to year-end for managed futures fund flows does not have many supporting factors at the moment.
 
The revival of long/short equity strategies accelerated into the end of Q3 with the strategy’s largest monthly inflow since February 2014. While the story on the strategy for 2017 had been of large, but targeted allocations to large funds, and to those with an emphasis on quantitative approaches, inflows in September were much more widespread. More than half of reporting managers saw net new money come in during September, and those with net inflows for the year improved to near 40 per cent.
 
Three months after four consecutive months of performance losses ended in June 2017, commodity managers faced their largest redemptions since November 2012 to end Q3. Net inflows for the quarter, and for the year, remained positive after September’s outflow, however with performance losses again in September, the future is less rosy.
 
After two months of light outflows, September’s EM inflow was the largest in twelve months. It appeared that, after redemptions in July and August, the resurgence of flows into EM hedge funds which had only started in May, had fizzled. September’s allocation, however, more than offset the prior two months’ redemptions. But a closer look at the numbers shows that inflows were very much isolated within a small handful of funds as the majority of products still faced redemption pressures. Allocations were greatest to products focused on EM credit markets.
 
About 50 per cent of reporting China-focused funds had inflows in September, which is slightly better than the overall hedge fund industry. Flows from reporting managers were net positive during the month, but only a small proportion had meaningful new allocations. 

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