In a world of ample capital, i.e. the savings glut, the competition for scarce investment returns has become increasingly fierce. We recently found a couple of examples of this very thing.

Serena Ng in the Wall Street Journal notes the paradoxical situation of a limited number of defaults hurting an investment strategy. Distressed debt investors are apparently having a difficult time finding enough situations in which they can invest.

“Hedge-fund investors like returns, and it’s extremely difficult for managers to put their money to work when defaults are so low,” says Mark Patterson, chairman of MatlinPatterson Global Advisers LLC, a private-equity firm that buys distressed debt in the hope of gaining controlling stakes in recovering firms.

Indeed, if managers can’t find more good investments soon, “some hedge funds might have to give back their money, unless they have very patient investors,” says Harold Rivkin, principal of H. Rivkin & Co., a broker of distressed and bankrupt bonds in Princeton, N.J. “This whole area is cyclical, and when the number of buyers overwhelms the supply, the money will switch to other places,” he adds.

While some managers are finding other ways in which to utilize their expertise (and their capital) it shows the difficulty of running a single strategy hedge fund. A number of newer hedge funds are expanding their investment palette to include private equity deals.

The Economist notes the growing trend of hedge funds invading private equity investor’s turf. This in turn is causing some friction. Most private equity deals involve multiple investors so there is room for both sets of investors to cooperate as well as compete. The question for investors is what will happen to the returns from such deals.

Whether hedge funds and private-equity firms co-operate or fight, the line between them is blurring. That’s fine, but with more investors hunting on the same ground, returns might be trampled. If so, it will be even harder to justify the fees.

This content, which contains security-related opinions and/or information, is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in any manner as professional advice, or an endorsement of any practices, products or services. There can be no guarantees or assurances that the views expressed here will be applicable for any particular facts or circumstances, and should not be relied upon in any manner. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment.

The commentary in this “post” (including any related blog, podcasts, videos, and social media) reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the Ritholtz Wealth Management employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded the views of Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC. or its respective affiliates or as a description of advisory services provided by Ritholtz Wealth Management or performance returns of any Ritholtz Wealth Management Investments client.

References to any securities or digital assets, or performance data, are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.

Please see disclosures here.

Please see the Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.