(Bloomberg News) Hedge funds run by Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC and Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP advanced last week as some of the industry's largest managers dodged the deepest slump for global stocks since 2008.
The main fund of Och Ziff, the $30 billion firm run by Daniel Och in New York, rose 1 percent, and London-based Brevan Howard's $25 billion Master Fund, the world's second-biggest macro fund, gained 2 percent, according to people briefed on the returns who asked not to be named because the information is private.
"Managers who were macro aware have managed to pull their exposures much faster than the stock pickers," said Alper Ince, a partner at Pacific Alternative Asset Management Co. in Irvine, California, which invests in hedge funds on behalf of clients. "Many people are in a wait-and-see mode. They want to see the dust settle before making massive changes."
Investor concerns that the U.S. economy may relapse into a recession drove investors out of stocks, triggering a 7.2 percent decline last week in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and a 9.9 percent drop in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. The selloff was the worst since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. three years ago triggered a global credit freeze.
Hedge funds lost 2.5 percent last week, bringing their loss in 2011 to 4.7 percent, according to Hedge Fund Research Inc.'s HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index.
Macro hedge funds such as Brevan Howard's typically trade currencies, interest rates and bonds, seeking to profit from broad economic trends. Brevan Howard, run by Alan Howard, departed from the strategy to benefit from tactical moves, making short-term trades when it perceived markets misjudged asset values, said one of the people.
Multistrategy funds such as Och-Ziff's can use a variety of tactics to try to deliver gains regardless of how markets perform.
Och-Ziff bought options on almost $12 billion of U.S. stocks during the first quarter, according to a May regulatory filing, a move that may generate profits if markets turn more volatile this year.
"One of the issues that concerns me is whether managers get into a situation where they de-risked their portfolios at the bottom and then are unable to capture the potential upside," said Brad Balter, head of Boston-based Balter Capital Management LLC, which also invests client money in hedge funds. "If markets can hold their gains for the next few days, it is likely managers will be forced to put their positions back on at higher levels."