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Investment: Long/shorts need rethink

The losses in the long/short strategy favoured by the majority of hedge funds show no signs of abating.

 In October, the HFRI long/short index (equity hedge) was down almost 8%, taking the year-to-date loss to 22.5% compared with the weighted average of 15.5%. Almost $30 billion has left long/short equity strategies this year. HFR estimates that there is about $516 billion in long/short funds, down from $684 billion at the end of 2007, including asset loss through performance.

"The myth that one could produce on the upside while fully protecting the downside has been busted"

Harry Rady, Rady Asset Management

But is it the end of the long/short strategy? Harry Rady, CEO of Rady Asset Management, says it is not but believes the investment approach used by long/short managers will have to change. "The days of the highly levered, hyper-trading, blackbox models are over, and the myth that one could produce on the upside while fully protecting the downside has been busted. We’ll see a return to the old-fashioned way of buying stock that is undervalued and holding those over time to let the value be realized." Rady’s fund typically waits to buys stock when it has dropped by at least 50% in value.

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