Cerberus Capital Management has been swamped with redemption requests with the Wall Street Journal reporting that investors are asking to pull out $5.5 billion or 71 percent of assets from its hedge funds.

Cerberus last month tried to entice investors into staying with the firm, but found that its clients overwhelmingly wanted to leave, the newspaper reported.

We have been surprised by this response, Cerberus chief Stephen Feinberg and co-founder William Richter wrote in a letter delivered to clients late on Thursday, according to the newspaper.

A spokesman for the firm was not immediately available for comment.

The bulk of investors elected to put their money into a fund that will liquidate hard-to-sell assets over time.

The news comes as several prominent hedge fund managers have closed their funds and as investors are less willing to leave their money locked up in potentially risky hedge funds.

Last year, when the average hedge fund lost 19 percent, Partners lost 24.5 percent on investments.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)