Bridgewater Associates’ flagship hedge fund rose 14.6 per cent last year as stocks fell broadly, according to a document seen by Bloomberg.

The Westport, Connecticut-based firm is the world’s biggest hedge fund with about US$160 billion in assets. The gains for its Pure Alpha Strategy came as other fund managers were whipsawed by volatile markets, resulting in the industry posting one of its worst years ever.

Hedge funds on average lost 6.7 per cent in 2018, according to the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index. That compares with a 4.4 per cent decline for the S&P 500 Index of stocks.

Since its inception in 1991, the Pure Alpha Strategy has had an average annualized net return of 12 per cent, according to the document. The macro manager trades globally across more than 150 markets.

The firm was founded by billionaire Ray Dalio and its current chief executive officers are David McCormick and Eileen Murray.

A spokeswoman for Bridgewater declined to comment.