Total hedge fund assets grew 14% to $355 billion in the first half of 1999, according to a report by Cerulli Associates. Year-end 1998 saw only a 5.4% increase and $311 billion total assets invested in hedge funds. Institutional investments account for 25% of total hedge fund assets, up from 5% six years ago. Tax-exempt pension funds have poured an estimated $28.4 billion into hedge funds; endowments and foundations have invested $21.3 billion, according to Cerulli. The proliferation of hedge funds is slowing, according to the study. There are an estimated 6,100 hedge funds, with new funds being introduced at a rate of less than 5% in the first six months of 1999, and projected total growth for 1999 estimated at 8% to 9%. In the early 1990s, the rate for new hedge fund launches was 20% per year.