Hedge Fund Losses Could Take Decades to Recover

Melvin Capital, among other hedge funds, has taken severe losses on bad bets in AMC, GameStop and others. They are now down by almost half:

Melvin Capital Management, which lost more than $6 billion in January, is now down 46% for the year through June, the fund recently told investors. Maplelane Capital is down 39% for the period.

Until Melvin recovers all of those losses, it will not earn any performance fees. This juicy 20% fee is what induces traders to set up hedge funds in the first place.

The average long/short equity hedge fund, the class Melvin belongs to, has returned just 3% annually over the last decade. At that rate, it would take Melvin 21 years to recoup its losses.

Here’s what could come next:

  • Manager Gabe Plotkin shuts the fund down, locking in investors’ losses. If he starts over with another fund, he can get performance fees right away.
  • Top traders leave the firm for other hedge funds that are earning performance fees, and hence can pay hefty bonuses. Only the B Team remains.
  • Melvin and similar funds make increasingly risky bets, desperate to quickly recover what they have lost, thereby losing even more. After all, 21 years is a long time to wait.

I think you will soon see more and more hedge funds either shutting down or getting desperate. If I were invested in any fund that saw big losses in meme stocks, I’d sell now before I lose it all.

More on AMC:




Photo: “Forever is Binding and Freeing” by Lomo-Cam is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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