Hedge funds had a nice May, up 5.2 percent on average. While the recent market rally no doubt helped, hedge funds also appear to be benefiting from less competition (see Economist article), with approximately 1,500 funds liquidating last year. This follows a similar trend observed in the late 1990s when less competition for trading opportunities helped those funds that survived after the LTCM failure.

But as reported in the article, not everything is rosy. After poor performance in 2008, many investors are requiring a more fair fee structure, one that is either closer to 1-10 (instead of 2-20), or that phases in fees over a longer period, after the fund has outperformed a benchmark - with the benchmark closer to the general market, and not simply zero, or a non-negative return. Investors also seem to be asking for more managed accounts where they can see where their money is being invested, and can also withdraw it quicker (and without gate restrictions). If that was not challenging enough, one cannot forget the added government regulation is coming down the pike. Possibly the biggest loser will be the funds-of-funds, which tack on an extra level of fees for the expertise of picking the best funds. Their failure to outperform enough to compensate for the extra fees, along with the benefits of cheaper hedge fund replication clones (see previous posts here, here, here, and here), are also making their services less cost effective.