STEPHEN CRANSTON: Returns of SA hedge funds may be profitable but fees are too high
The best hedge funds are still open for new clients and wealthy people are increasing their share
There is no doubt that however successful the returns have been from SA hedge funds, the sector has been a commercial flop. Shops originally set up to be pure hedge-fund players such as Laurium and Tantalum have been forced to diversify into old-fashioned long-only funds.
Even large houses such as Sanlam, Old Mutual and Stanlib have scaled back their funds. A whole series of Sanlam hedge funds disappeared, though perhaps their name, the Gen-X funds, gave them a limited shelf life. And one of the pioneers of hedge funds, Sygnia, pulled out of the market as it could not justify passing on such high fees to its clients. The business model had changed from Louis Vuitton to Walmart...