Here’s what it’s like to have a slump in the no-lose world of hedge funds.
Recent mediocre performance hasn’t stopped Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, from bringing in $22.5 billion in new money from investors in the past 18 months. Nevermind that Bridgewater, which is run by Ray Dalio, and has been hit by management turmoil this year, and is having one of the worst years in its history. It’s flagship fund is down 9.4% through the end of August this year. The average hedge fund is up 3.5% this year. Bridgewater has averaged a return on 12% for its flagship fund since it was launched two and a half decades ago.
That hasn’t stopped the world’s largest hedge fund from bringing in new money for its $69 billion flagship fund, Pure Alpha, The Financial Times reported. Bridgewater reopened fund about five months ago—it’s the first time the fund has asked for new money since 2009—and the money had poured in. Overall, this year, clients have added more than $11 billion to the companies funds, people familiar with the matter told Fortune.
The new Pure Alpha capital is largely from the firm’s existing client base of pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and large corporate investors, the people said.
That comes as some investors have been losing confidence in hedge funds in general, pulling an aggregate $55.9 billion out of hedge funds through the end of July, according to research firm, eVestement. Tudor Investment was forced to lay off 15% of its workforce in August after clients pulled $2 billion from the fund, while Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square revealed in July $600 million in redemptions through the end of June.
Still, Bridgewater’s ability to pull in new money in such an atmosphere (the Wall Street Journal reported that the fund reopened five months earlier) is a sign of its clientele’s trust in and loyalty to the world’s largest hedge fund.
The Pure Alpha fund, which is actively managed, has not only underperformed the market, but also Bridgewater’s own passively managed All Weather “risk parity” fund in 2016, which charges lower fees than Pure Alpha. All Weather fund has risen 13.5% this year.
In February 2015, the hedge fund also began raising new capital for its mash up of those two funds, the $22 billion Optimal Portfolio, which has remained largely flat for the year.
According to Hedge Fund Research, the industry as a whole has gained 3.5% year to date, despite losses in the first two months of the year.