The performance freefall, liquidity drought, global deleveraging and collapse of the global banking system, followed by a mass uncovering of fraud stacked up to make 2008 the annus most horribilis ever seen by the funds of funds industry.
Each year since the InvestHedge Billion Dollar Club survey started, the assets and number of firms with more than $1 billion have grown - sometimes steadily and sometimes rapidly. But for the first time since 2002, the funds of hedge funds industry has shrunk both in terms of assets and number of firms.
Today, 137 funds of hedge fund firms - each with $1 billion or more in assets - run $744 billion in total funds. This number includes 14 new entrants that joined the rankings throughout 2008.
But this universe of 137 firms fell by 29.2% for the full calendar year of 2008. From a January 2008 asset total of $1.1 trillion, this brought...