UK – Around one in five large UK pension funds have some exposure to hedge funds, the National Association of Pension Funds says.

The NAPF’s annual survey – which asked about hedge funds for the first time due to its topicality - found that around 20% have some form of investment in the asset class.

And a “significant minority” had increased their allocation, a spokesman said – adding that none of the schemes who responded had decreased their allocation.

He cited anecdotal evidence that it’s the bigger schemes, that have both the human and financial resources to invest in hedge funds, with smaller funds less able or willing.

The NAPF surveyed 420 funds.

The Times quoted Chris Hitchen, the Railpen CEO who chairs the NAPF’s investment committee as saying the trend was because pension fund trustees were looking for diversification coupled with performance.

“There’s been such a flight of talent from the long-only market to the hedge fund space that if you choose not to play there at all, you’ll tend not to outperform your benchmarks,” he told the paper.

The European Fund and Asset Management Association, EFAMA, yesterday said the European regulatory framework “does not foster a single market for hedge funds”.