While the research showed that convertible arbitrage and event-driven investment strategies remained popular with investors, the more traditional long/short strategies have suffered.
"More investors were on the sidelines and those committing funds continued to lean toward strategies that could benefit from today's uncertain market environment," said Patrick Kelly, director of manager research at Tremont. "Thus, it was no surprise that distressed strategies were particularly popular again in the first quarter."
The event-driven strategy, which looks to make gains from merger and acquisition activity, gained $1.95bn of net assets during the first quarter of 2002. The convertible arbitrage strategy, which profits from the share price movements of companies that have issued convertible securities, gained $1.6bn.
"The declining interest rate environment of 2001 boosted returns for such strategies as convertible arbitrage and fixed income arbitrage," said Ed Hannon, research specialist at Tremont. "Investors noticed these favourable returns and rewarded those strategies with assets in the first quarter."
This is opposed to long/short equity funds, which lost $407m of assets, compared with a net inflow of $1.9bn in the last quarter of 2001.
As a whole, hedge fund inflows slowed in the first quarter. The $5.6bn first quarter net inflow compares with a net inflow of $8.8bn in the fourth quarter of 2001