Earlier this year, Ken Squire, who runs the consultancy 13-D Monitor, which follows those filings with the SEC, wrote an article in Barron's predicting that 2009 would be a "golden age" for activists (which I also predicted recently).His article made several strong points for why this should happen, including the low valuations, a favorable political climate likely to ease hurdles for activists to challenge companies, and shareholder discontent at record levels. Yet, this activist activity has yet to materialize. Why and when will this change? There is a finite set of large activist investors in the world today with the assets to take on large public company battles. Some of the biggest have included: Relational Investors (active in Sprint ( S), Home Depot ( HD), and National Semiconductor ( NSM) last year), Trian (active in Wendy's ( WEN) and Tiffany's ( TIF) last year), Carl Icahn (active in Yahoo! ( YHOO) and Motorola ( MOT) last year), The Children's Investment Fund (or "TCI," active in CSX ( CSX) last year), Jana Partners (active in Cnet last year), and Pershing Square (active in Target ( TGT) last year). Like most investors, they had terrible results last year, although their previous 10-year returns have been outstanding. These activists suffered more in 2009 than other hedge funds because of two reasons: (1) they typically run long-only or long-biased funds and therefore had very little hedged going into last fall and (2) they have concentrated portfolios of typically fewer than 15 holdings, which can work very well in up years but terribly in down years. These large activist funds have seen heavy redemptions in the last six months, and there is no reason not to believe they won't see more for the balance of this year. Even Jana Partners, which had relatively positive returns in 2008, has been hit with large redemption requests reportedly affecting 20% to 30% of assets.