Endowments Say They Cut Use of Hedge Funds Because of High Fees

(Bloomberg) -- Endowments and foundations cut their hedge fund exposure in the last year, citing high fees and concerns about liquidity and transparency.

A survey released Thursday found that 37% of institutions polled reduced hedge fund wagers, while 14% increased them and about half remained unchanged. About a fifth said they plan to cut their exposure to the asset class in the coming year, according to the report by investment consultant NEPC.

Endowment returns slumped in fiscal 2019, hurt by their exposure to international equities. Schools have also piled into hedge funds. The average fund was flat in the 12 months through June while the S&P 500 rose more than 10%.

Most of the endowments and foundations surveyed have a fifth or less of their portfolios committed to hedge fund managers. For those that made cuts, 20% was redeployed to fixed-income, while 17% went to private equity and credit, the poll found.

A quarter of those surveyed said the biggest challenge with hedge funds is high fees while 16% cite low or disappointing performance.

NEPC’s results are based on about 50 respondents covering the 12 months ended in September.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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