Assets managed by hedge funds globally last month fell to less than $3 trillion for the first time since the industry hit the milestone in May 2014, according to data from eVestment.

Investors pulled a net $21.5 billion, the most in the opening month of a year since 2009, while losses led to a $43.2 billion drop in assets under management. The industry managed $2.96 trillion at the end of January. Hedge funds that suffered losses last year were hit by redemptions worth $24.8 billion in January.

Equity, fixed-income and multistrategy hedge funds suffered net outflows, though interest in those betting on commodities rose for the fifth straight month in January as investors pledged $1.2 billion, the most since mid-2014.

"This is a major reversal of a trend which dates back to mid-2012,” eVestment said in a statement on Friday. “Hedge fund investors appear to firmly believe there are significant opportunities in the commodity space."

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE