Opacity, Risk, Performance and Inflows in Hedge Funds

Abstract This article analyzes the relationship between opaque assets and the risks, returns and inflows of hedge funds. In particular, we use a unique dataset containing information required by a Brazilian regulator to evaluate the amount invested by funds in forward and future contracts, swaps and options in the context of qualified and non-qualified investors. Our results show a positive association between the positions in derivatives and the variations in risk and a negative association between derivatives (especially swaps) and the funds' monthly performances. This means that the use of more derivatives is related to higher risk (total and systematic) without the benefit of higher return. Hedge funds adopting leveraged operations with derivatives also present a lower annual performance. In general, there is significant evidence that swaps are related to fund inflows in a negative way with regard to qualified and non-qualified investors.