The hedge fund industry gets its name from the premise it can generate gains even when markets fall. That didn’t happen in Canada during the first quarter, one of the most volatile trading periods in history.

Only five of 61 hedge funds, or about 8 per cent, posted gains during the first three months of the year, according to Venator Capital Management Ltd., a Toronto-based investment firm that tracks the industry. The top performer was CC&L Market Neutral Fund, with a 9.8 per cent gain; the worst was Lawrence Park Enhanced Preferred with a 38.5 per cent loss.

Canada’s stock market reached a record in February before tumbling in March amid the coronavirus pandemic and then rebounding again, with days featuring both the biggest drop and surge on record. Corporate bonds also plunged, while government yields hit new lows.

Still, about 70 per cent of the funds managed to perform better than the 22 per cent loss in the S&P/TSX Composite index during the period and the 20 per cent decline in the S&P 500.

The hedge fund misery was not restricted to Canada. Global hedge funds are down about 10 per cent this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Globally, firms run by Ray Dalio, Michael Hintze, Adam Levinson and others suffered their worst-ever losses last month, with some funds down as much as 40 per cent. Overall, three out of four hedge funds lost money, according to preliminary data compiled by Bloomberg.

Here’s a round up of Canadian hedge-fund performance in the first quarter.



CC&L Market Neutral Fund 9.80%
Dynamic Alpha Performance 4.80%
Waratah One Fund 4.50%
Waratah Performance Fund 4.20%
Espresso Income Trust 2.10%



Lawrence Park Enhanced Preferred -38.50%
Polar Micro-Cap Fund -37.60%
BloombergSen Partners Fund -37%
Turtle Creek Equity Fund -35%
Goodwood Fund -31.10%