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Managed Futures Funds Gain 0.42% in December, Return 5.21% for 2021

Crypto Traders Suffer December Losses, Nevertheless End Year Up Nearly 140%


Managed futures funds were in the black for December, posting a 0.42% return for the month, according to the Barclay CTA Index, compiled by BarclayHedge, a division of Backstop Solutions. CTAs ended 2021 returning 5.21% for the year.

All but one CTA sub-sector were in positive territory for December; the lone outlier, the Cryptocurrency Traders Index, was off -11.37% for the month.

Leading the other sub-sectors in gaining ground was the MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders Index, up 1.95% in December. The Discretionary Traders Index gained 1.15% for the month, the Agricultural Traders Index was up 0.79%, the Diversified Traders Index returned 0.35% and the Currency Traders Index advanced 0.23%.

All but one CTA subsector was profitable in 2021. The Cryptocurrency Traders Index was the far and away leader among the year’s gainers, up 139.57%. The MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders Index returned 11.71% in 2021, the Discretionary Traders Index gained 9.48%, the Agricultural Traders Index advanced 8.21% and the Diversified Traders Index was up 6.12%.

The Financial & Metal Traders Index was the only sub-sector posting a 2021 loss, down a modest -0.75% on the year.

“Despite a variety of headwinds, the managed futures industry offered solid results throughout 2021, and added value to many portfolios as a diversifying asset class,” said Ben Crawford, Head of Research at BarclayHedge. “Crypto was the only sub-sector that didn’t make money in December, as many of the industry’s headline assets suffered whiplash from a sharp price downturn. Despite an unsatisfying conclusion, however, many Crypto traders will look back on 2021 fondly, as massive gains throughout the year were sufficient to buoy them through some truly break-neck volatility.”  

The Barclay BTOP50 Index, which tracks the performance of the largest CTAs open for new investment, was up 0.97% in December and gained 10.16% for 2021.

For a complete table of Barclay CTA Index results as well as historical data, click here.

About Backstop Solutions

Backstop’s mission is to help the institutional investment industry use time to its fullest potential. We develop technology to simplify and streamline otherwise time-consuming tasks and processes, enabling our clients to quickly and easily access, share and manage the knowledge that’s critical to their day-to-day business success. Backstop provides its industry-leading cloud-based productivity suite to investment consultants, pensions, funds of funds, family offices, endowments, foundations, private equity, hedge funds and real estate investment firms.

BarclayHedge, a division of Backstop, currently maintains data on more than 6,900 hedge funds, funds of funds and CTAs. The BarclayHedge Indices are utilized by institutional investors, brokerage firms and private banks worldwide as performance benchmarks for the hedge fund and managed futures industries.


Janet Falk

(212) 677-5770