By Hal M. Bundrick NEW YORK ( MainStreet)--With a meager annualized return of less than 2% over the past five years, investors may be inclined to abandon ship on market-neutral funds. With high fees and rapid portfolio turnover combined with weak performance, what's the use? Andrew Clark, manager of alternative investment research at Lipper says it's a matter of diversification, not return. "In terms of operating expenses alternative investment mutual funds can be pricey relative to their traditionally managed fund peers," Clark admits in a Lipper report."It is common for alternative funds to have annual operating expenses of around 1.5%, and some funds are considerably more expensive. However, we view them as primarily diversifiers of risk and not necessarily as return enhancers."