New hedge funds net most cash since 2004

David Siegel, co-founder of Two Sigma.
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Hungry for returns, investors are giving more new hedge funds a test drive.

Funds based in the Americas that launched in 2014 pulled in $34.1 billion, the highest annual total since $39.5 billion was raised in 2004, according to new research from industry news and data provider Absolute Return. The money was spread out over 84 new funds running at least $50 million, the largest total since 86 of the same minimum size were formed in 2006.

The largest fresh fund offerings came from a mix of new and old firms. The largest was the Two Sigma Absolute Return Macro Master Fund from leading quantitative investor Two Sigma. The vehicle raised a whopping $3.3 billion as of Jan. 1.

The firm, co-founded in 2001 by D.E. Shaw veterans John Overdeck and David Siegel, was a top performer last year; its more than $5 billion Compass fund gained 25.6 percent net of fees in 2014, according to a person familiar with the situation. Two Sigma managed $24 billion overall as of Tuesday and recently won the Absolute Return award for firm of the year. A spokesman for Two Sigma declined to comment.