Yes, yes, everyone knows hedge funds aren’t benchmarked to the S&P – after all they “hedge” for the broader market downside.
Here is the problem: having underperformed the S&P for five years in a row, many LPs are starting to get tired of not only underperforming stocks but paying out 2 and 20 on all the lost upside (and not only due to such left field surprises as RICO Stevie).
The bigger problem is that by the time the crash finally comes, there will be no hedges left as the Federal Reserve will have made sure all shorts get crushed as confirmed by the relentless outperformance of the most shorted stocks relative to the market (and why we continue to suggest quarter after quarter that going long the most shorted stocks is the most lucrative “alpha” strategy) as “hedge” funds abandon all hedging in droves and become “long-onlies”, a problem further compounded by the fact that when the real crash does come not one hedge fund will be positioned properly and able to generate any alpha.
The biggest problem, at least for the active management community, is that with the global central banks now stock market activists and buying stocks outright, it is they who have eliminated the downside risk and by implication made hedging redundant.
So for all those curious why all real money managers (and not those who spend 18 hours a day on the modern day Yahoo Finance known as Twitter, “trading” with monopoly money while selling $29.95 newsletters) are furious at what Bernanke and company are doing as shown in the most recent Ira Sohn conference, we present the chart below from Goldman which confirms what most have already known: the Federal Reserve has made hedge funds a thing of the past, whose investors are sure to keep underperforming the S&P until the moment when it all goes tumbling down.