Brokerage firms are cutting their financing and support to hundreds of hedge funds, reports the Wall Street Journal, delivering a further blow to what was the highest-flying sector of American finance. As they attempt to shore up their own positions, the banks are dividing their hedge fund clients into two categories: ones that can probably ride out the turmoil, and "B-list" funds whose future is less rosy.
Until recently banks competed fiercely for even the riskiest of hedge funds, aiming to lend them money and handle their securities via "prime brokerages." But as the parent companies of those brokerages teeter, the hedge funds they courted now find themselves shut out. The upshot: many funds will have to merge, find new and costlier financing, or close completely.