Canute-like hedge fund investors pledge "no action"

In a surprising survey, four out of five hedge fund investors say they plan to make no changes to their hedge fund allocations.

If you thought your hedge fund was being hit with redemption notices, think again. It is all an illusion. Statistics prove it.

Around 83% of global hedge fund investors (based in Europe and North America) polled in December said they were taking "no action" in response to the credit crisis. The survey was carried out at the end of 2008 by the SEI Knowledge Partnership in collaboration with Greenwich Associates.

There is no need to react to the credit crisis, according to the investors polled, because their commitment to hedge funds is unchanged and they have an investment horizon of three years. They also appear satisfied with the way their investments were performing, noting that hedge funds still produced better returns compared with many other strategies.

In a sign of confidence, around 20% of the respondents said they plan to increase their allocations to hedge funds.

Of the nearly 100 investors polled, their average allocations to hedge funds made up 7.4% of their portfolios, which is in excess of most institutional averages, so these people are no amateurs.

In terms of hedge fund strategies, the respondents said they favour multistrategy (a mix of all strategies), followed by event driven, global macro, and market neutral. They are keeping their distance from convertible arbitrage and emerging markets funds.

So in a nutshell, it's the usual hindsight that passes for prognostication, with people ticking the boxes that would have given them the best results a year ago. So much for calling the shots.

Looking at specific geographical sectors, the respondents were resolutely behind the curve. Less than 10% said Asian strategies were "in favour" while 25% said they were actively out of favour. No one favoured Russia, which was one of the worst performing markets in 2008, and more than 30% disapproved of the market.

In terms of factors that are rated very important when choosing a hedge fund manager, the winner, with 80%, is the platitudinous "capability of investment professionals".

Amusingly, investors seem to have become nonchalant with their usual complaints about hedge fund costs, as fees brings up the rear with only 20% of investors concerned about the issue.

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