There are now more hedge funds than ever

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

There are now more hedge funds than ever.

Investors have the choice of an estimated 10,149 hedge funds and funds of hedge funds as of March 31, according to new data from industry research firm HFR. That surpasses the previous high of 10,096 set in 2007 before the financial crisis. About 1,040 new funds launched in 2014, a net addition of 176 compared with ones that closed.

Total industry assets are $2.94 trillion, another all-time high, despite relatively muted single-digit returns from most hedge funds last year.

"Investors continue to turn to hedge funds, despite disappointing performance in 2014," said Eric Tedd, head of hedge fund research at Guggenheim Investment Advisors.

"They offer more attractive risk adjusted return potential than traditional asset classes," Tedd said in an email, noting relatively low bond yields and high stock valuations.