By Neil Wilson
Amid all the recent gloom about hedge funds, one important subset of the industry has stood out as a major exception - withhighly positive returns, noncorrelated with the plunging equity markets. The major exception: those that ply strategies in the futures markets - collectively known as commodity trading advisers (CTAs).
The HedgeFund Intelligence Global Composite index was battered as never before in September (down 3.71%) and October (down another 2.35%), taking its year-to-date loss for 2008 to nearly 7.3%. But at the same time, the HFI Global Managed Futures index posted gains for both September and October (when it was up around 3.75%), taking its year-to-date gain up to a highly impressive 12.3%.
The managed futures community represents a not-insignificant portion of industry assets - in Europe, it accounted for about 13% of total assets...