Bridge over ocean
1 January 2001 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 57, Issue 1

Hedge Fund Performance: 1990–1999

  1. Bing Liang

Using a large database, I studied hedge fund performance and risk during an almost 10-year period from 1990 to mid-1999. The empirical results show that hedge funds had an annual return of 14.2 percent in this period, compared with 18.8 percent for the S&P 500 Index. The S&P 500 is much more volatile, however, than hedge funds as a whole. Annual survivorship bias for hedge funds was 2.43 percent. I examined year 1998 in detail because hedge funds were heavily affected by the global financial market tumble in that year. For example, the highest volatility for hedge fund returns occurred in 1998, and more funds died and fewer were born in 1998 than in any other year of the period studied. Few funds changed their fee structures. In those that did, the fee changes were performance related; poor performers lowered their incentive fees.

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