There were 1,113 hedge fund launches in 2011, including 270 in Q4 - the highest annual total since 2007, according to Hedge Fund Research. A total of 775 funds liquidated in 2011, including 190 in the fourth quarter. That number was up slightly from 743 liquidations in 2010.
The total number of funds rose to 9,523 in 2011, while total hedge fund industry capital rose by 3% to $2.02 trillion. The bulk of the new funds in 2011 were equity hedge (479) and macro (265). The macro number is the highest since HFR began tracking this in 1996.
On the other hand, 293 equity hedge funds liquidated in 2011, the highest number since 651 funds closed in 2008. Fund of hedge fund closures, at 215, were their lowest since 2007.
In terms of geography, more funds were launched in the U.S. than Europe, while liquidations were higher in Europe.
"While some have suggested that increased regulation may deter new fund launches, many hedge funds are launching not only as a result of increasing investor risk tolerance, but also as a result of these regulatory changes to trading activities and risk oversight at financial institutions. The hedge fund industry has and will continue to expand and innovate to offer more sophisticated and transparent strategies to meet the requirements of institutional investors," said Kenneth J. Heinz, president of HFR, in a statement.