New Hedge Funds Are Fewer, Larger

Jul 8 2008 | 11:04am ET

There are fewer new hedge funds this year, but they are bigger, according to a new survey.

According to Absolute Return magazine, 35 funds began trading during the first six months of the year with a total of $19.5 billion. The number of new funds fell by more than 50% from 72 during the same period last year, but those 35 funds raised 40% more money at launch than did last year’s 72.

Mirroring the hedge fund industry as a whole, the very biggest hedge fund launches are getting bigger: The top five funds making their debut in the first half raised $13.7 billion, 70% of the $19.5 billion total. Each raised at least $1 billion.

Goldman Sachs alone accounted for more than 40% of the capital raised in its newest funds. GS Investment Partners, run by former proprietary trading desk chief Raanan Agus, manages $7 billion—more than three times as much as the second-biggest launch of the year—while its new vehicle aimed at capitalizing on the credit crisis, the Mortgage Credit Opportunities Fund, manages $1.1 billion.

The second-biggest launch of the first half was Greenwich, Conn.-based Conatus Capital Management’s Conatus Capital Partners at $2.3 billion, followed by Lone Pine Capital’s emerging markets Lone Dragon Pine fund at $1.8 billion. Chicago-based Highliner Investment Group’s Alyeska Fund was fourth at $1.5 billion.

Most of the new funds pursue an equity long/short strategy, with a fair number of mortgage-backed securities and distressed funds also launching.

Rounding out the top 10 fund launches are SIR Capital Management’s Hedge Equity Master Fund at $700 million, Bellman Walter Capital’s Global Fund at $650 million, and KnightHead Capital Management’s Master Fund, Obrem Capital Management’s Obrem Capital and One William Street Capital’s Master Fund with $500 million each.

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