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Managed Futures’ Tailwinds Disappear in May, Leaving an Unsettling Stillness

BTOP50, Currency, and Discretionary Traders Conjure Profits - Most Everyone Else Flat or Nearly So


Following a five-month run of wins, the managed futures industry looks to have shed around six basis points (-0.06%) in May, according to the Barclay CTA Index, compiled by BarclayHedge, a division of Backstop Solutions.

CTAs remained in positive territory for the year-to-date interval, returning 8.10% through the end of May.

Most managed futures subsectors posted losses in May, though two saw gains: The Currency Traders Index which advanced 0.16% for the month and the Discretionary Traders Index which was up 0.15%.

Subsectors losing ground in May included the Cryptocurrency Traders Index -7.40%; the Diversified Traders Index - 0.28%; the Systematic Traders Index -0.21%; the MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders Index -0.05%; and the Agricultural Traders Index was down -0.04%.

Excepting Cryptocurrency traders, all Managed Futures subsectors have made money on the year. The MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders Index has been the clear leader in 2022, returning 16.83% through May 2022. The Diversified Traders Index and the Systematic Traders Index were next up, yielding 9.38% and 8.72% respectively. The Currency Traders Index has pocketed 5.18% so far and the Agricultural Traders Index is up 4.21% on the year-to-date interval.

The Cryptocurrency Traders Index has suffered aggregate 2022 losses of -25.86%, reflecting the pain of another “crypto winter” which so far has lasted well into the spring.

“Despite months-long tailwinds for the managed futures industry, CTAs of almost all stripes found it difficult to make money in May. Fortunately it seems that most funds also avoided significant losses. The result? Mostly flat outcomes month-over-month. The average magnitude of both gains and losses were very small—less than a third of one-percent for all subsectors, Crypto-traders notwithstanding,” observed Ben Crawford, Head of Research at BarclayHedge. “Digital Assets, including Cryptocurrencies continued bleeding value in May and showed correlation with the on-going selloff of technology equities.”

The Barclay BTOP50 Index, which tracks the performance of the largest CTAs open for new investment, gained 0.48% in May. On a year-to-date basis, the BTOP50 has returned 14.34%.

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.



Maryling Yu


(312) 277 7700