Merrill Lynch recently estimated that $75bn is invested in 130/30 funds, predominantly on behalf of pension funds. It further estimated that the market could reach $1,000bn in the next five years. F&C Investments is expected to expand its range of 130/30 funds in the near future with European, pan-European and Asian offerings thought to be in the pipeline. Investors are attracted to the startegy because its use could result in managers potentially improving returns simply by lifting the long-only constraint on some funds.
For all the hype concerning 130/30 funds, institutional and retail investors are just beginning to test the waters for hedge fund-like strategies. The Vodia Group survey found that just 14 per cent of institutional investors said they had already invested in 130/30. The flood of money into 130/30 strategies seems to be having a detrimental effect on the hedge fund market, which still suffers from reputational problems among conservative institutional investors.