It was meant to be the year of the hedge fund. After near indiscriminate gains for shares in 2013, the choppier markets of this year were hailed as the perfect conditions for the specialist and skilled active fund manager.
It has not turned out that way. While equity markets in the developed world have gyrated, many of the world's most acclaimed stock pickers have underperformed. At the same time, the hedge funds that specialise in predicting the direction of the global economy have struggled as winning trades in interest rates and currency markets have gone into reverse.
"A lot of people were hoping this year would turn out to be a stockpickers' market, but that has turned out to be anything but the case so far," says Troy Gayeski, partner and senior portfolio manager at SkyBridge, a $10.3bn investor in hedge funds based in New York.
With the average hedge fund suffering the worst start to the year since the financial crisis, making just 1.2 per cent, according to the industry data provider Preqin, only a few managers, many concentrated in trading in concentrated company-specific events, have prospered.
"The best performing managers in equities this year have been those focused on corporate events, which is working out better than we expected," says Mr Gayeski.