Hedge fund liquidations outpaced launches for the third consecutive quarter, new data released Friday by Hedge Fund Research showed.
HFR said 213 managers called it quits in the quarter ended March 31, compared to 215 in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 174 in the third quarter of 2018.
By contrast, hedge fund launches totaled 136 in the quarter ended March 31, 111 in fourth quarter of 2018 and 144 in the third quarter.
In first quarter of 2018, 158 hedge funds were created and 145 funds closed.
The fourth quarter 2018 and first quarter 2019 hedge fund launches were the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2008, when 56 hedge funds opened for business. The fourth quarter of 2008 also saw the highest-ever liquidation pace, with 778 hedge funds closing, HFR data showed.
"Powerful risk-on sentiment drove performance and new launch trends across hedge funds" in the first quarter, said Kenneth J. Heinz, HFR's president, in a news release accompanying the data report.
"New fund launches have seen increases in launch size with investor emphasis on liquidity, low fees and innovative applications of ESG and diversity concepts," Mr. Heinz added, noting that managers who offer these fund attributes "are likely to lead industry growth in coming quarters."