A Tipping Point For Hedge Funds

In 2014, the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index lost 0.6 percent, underperforming the S&P 500 Index by 14.3 percentage points. And while the index outperformed foreign equities, which generally lost between about 2 and 5 percent, it underperformed virtually riskless one-year Treasury notes, which returned 0.2 percent. It also underperformed a typical, globally diversified and balanced portfolio allocated 60 percent to stocks and 40 percent to bonds.

Over the long term, the evidence is even worse. For the 10-year period from 2005 through 2014—which includes the worst bear market in the post-Great Depression era—the HFRX index returned just 0.7 percent per year, underperforming every single major equity and bond asset class. The table below shows returns to various indexes.

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