Hedge Fund Losses in 06 Mean Nothing

I caught this headline blurb from the AP:

U.S. hedge funds that once managed $35 billion shut down last year as more big firms ran into trouble, according to a survey released on Monday by industry publication Absolute Return. At least 83 U.S. hedge funds shut in 2006. The largest was the $9.1 billion multistrategy fund run by Amaranth Advisors LLC, which ranks as the biggest hedge fund collapse in history, Absolute Return said. Also among the folded funds: Archeus Capital Management’s Animi Master Fund, which oversaw $2.65 billion at its peak; another run by Sagamore Hill Capital, which once held about $2.6 billion; and Saranac Capital’s Citigroup Multistrategy Arbitrage/Saranac Arbitrage fund, which topped out at $2.2 billion. Five other funds that once managed at least $1 billion also shut last year. That’s a big change from 2005, when none of the hedge funds that folded ever had $1 billion in assets, Absolute Return noted. Still, most of the hedge funds that shut down last year were small: Almost half of those funds never reached $50 million in assets. That suggests the $1.4 trillion industry is evolving into a business dominated by the bigger firms, Absolute Return said.

If the style of trading is not defined, if the manager is not noted, then aggregate statistics for hedge fund losses serve little purpose other than giving naive reporters something “fun” to write about for that day.