Bloomberg TV invited me back on this morning – the sorry results of hedge fund investors are just too incredible to be believed and so they asked to produce a chart illustrating how fees have been split. It turns out that if you calculate how much money hedge funds generated BEFORE fees from 1998-2010, and then deduct hedge fund fees (and fund of fund fees) from the gross profits (that is, in excess of treasury bills since those are the only measure of returns that are worth anything) , the clients were left with 2%. Hedge funds have been highly profitable, but unfortunately the profits haven’t made it to the investors. Anybody can do this calculation – the methodology is simple, is explained in my book (The Hedge Fund Mirage) and has not been seriously challenged by anybody.
The industry kept 98%. Bloomberg presented a version of this chart on TV this morning. Hopefully the message is getting across. It’s not that there aren’t some great hedge fund managers out there – of course there are. But investors need to do a far better job of negotiating terms that allow them to share in that success.