Identifying Asia's best and worst hedge funds

The numbers are in and, although they are pretty bad, there are some hedge funds in the region that posted amazing performance figures for 2008.
With three-quarters of 2008 full-year returns submitted to hedge fund databases, it is evident that it was a grim year, with Asian hedge funds posting an average decline of 20% in performance, according to Eurekahedge. Taking into account closures and funds that simply stopped reporting, the real aggregate performance number is probably even worse. At the time of writing, 177 funds had recorded positive returns, while 371 were down for 2008.

However, some funds did shoot out the lights. At present, the fund topping the charts is Rising China Fund with a 70.85% return. That fund is managed by the Shanghai-based fund management company Pinpoint.

Picking the right fund was important for Pinpoint investors, because the Pinpoint Opportunities Fund was down 43% in 2008.

In silver and bronze position are the Abaxs Index CAC fund and Vincent WongÆs macro-themed Vegasoul Fund. These two returned 64.4% and 63.4% respectively.

In fourth and fifth slot are two bond funds from Stratton Street, which were up 59% and 57%. They were followed by Pivot Global Value Fund with a 50.3% return and the BIA Pacific Macro Fund up 50.2%, the latter being from the stable of the Hong Kong hedge fund industry's blonde heartthrob Andrew Ballingal, and managed by Geoffrey Barker.

The Stratton Street triumph is also bittersweet, because three Stratton Street funds bring up the rear of the field, with the Stratton Street Dejima fund, Japan Synthetic Warrant Fund and India Synthetic Warrant Fund down between 93% and 96%.

During the last quarter of 2008, there were some well-known fund managers that closed their funds. The list includes the Boyer Allan India Fund in December, LIM Asia Alternative Real Estate Fund in November, the Dragon Billion Greater China Fund and the Tantallon Smaller Companies Fund in October.

Looking at the AsianInvestor hedge fund award winners for 2008, the best performer for 2008 was our æBest Asia Pacific Fund' winner û Artradis AB2 Fund, with a 34.7% return û and that fund is currently riding high in the charts in 17th place.
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