Hedge Fund Definition
A hedge fund is an aggressively invested portfolio made through pooling of various investors and institutional investor’s fund and invests in a variety of assets which generally is a pool of assets providing high returns in exchange of higher risk through various risk management techniques and hedging techniques
To invest in them, you need Money like Bill Gates, and to manage them, you need Brains like Einstein. Hedge funds have been in the limelight due to various strategies used and some amazing returns generated. They have confronted the traditional fund sector with a substantial challenge. They have attracted more attention and media interest than the traditional sector. You must have also heard a lot about Hedge funds.
They have been successful in getting the pool of talented fund managers due to their lucrative compensation packages. Over the years, they have attracted a powerful flow of capital.
You can say that the Hedge Fund is a type of pooled investment. But isn’t Mutual Fund the same? So what makes Hedge Fund different than the others?
The significant difference is:
Investment in Hedge Funds is open only to a limited group of investors, and its performance is measured in absolute return units.
If you go by the nomenclature of Hedge Funds, the term Hedge (Hedging) means lowering the overall Risk. This is usually done by taking an asset position that helps in offsetting the existing Risk.
How does Hedge Funds Work?
- It takes both Long & Short PositionsShort PositionsA short position is a practice where the investors sell stocks that they don't own at the time of selling; the investors do so by borrowing the shares from some other investors to promise that the former will return the stocks to the latter on a later date..
- It uses Arbitrage.
- It includes buying and selling of undervalued securities as well.
- It trades options or bonds.
- And invests in any opportunity that exists in the market.
- So you can say that its primary aim is to reduce volatility & Risk and to preserve capital.
While we are talking about reducing risks, you may be amazed to know how the Hedge funds do it. In doing so, they use a variety of instruments and amazingly weird strategies too. They are also flexible in their investment options.
What I mean by this is that they can use short sellingShort SellingShort Selling is a trading strategy designed to make quick gains by speculating on the falling prices of financial security. It is done by borrowing the security from a broker and selling it in the market and thereafter repurchasing the security once the prices have fallen., leverage, derivatives such as puts, calls, optionsOptionsOptions are financial contracts which allow the buyer a right, but not an obligation to execute the contract. The right is to buy or sell an asset on a specific date at a specific price which is predetermined at the contract date., futures, etc.
Well, that’s a lot of different things in one sentence. So let’s now move forward and take a look at its characteristics.
Hedge Funds Characteristics
One common and frequent thing that you will notice about Hedge funds is that they vary enormously in investment returns, volatility, and Risk.
- Some of them can deliver non-market correlated returns.
- Significant investors in Hedge funds are Pension funds, endowments, insurance companies, private banks, and high Net Worth individuals and families.
- Experienced investment professionals manage hedge Funds.
- They are illiquid investments.
- They have little to no regulations.
- They are known to use Aggressive Investment Strategies.
Hedge Funds Organization Structure
- The primary organizational structure you will find for Hedge Funds is the one with a General/Limited Partnership Model.
- The General Partners here are involved in managing the fund, whereas the Limited partners are involved in making investments to the partnership. The limited partners are, however, liable only to their paid-in capital amountsPaid-in Capital AmountsPaid in Capital is the capital amount that a Company receives from investors in exchange for the stock sold in the primary market, including common or preferred stock. This considers the sale of stock that an issuer directly sells to the investor & not the sale of stock on the secondary market between investors. .
- Also, the Typical structure used for the General partners is the Limited Liability Company. A Limited Liability Company is a flow-through tax entity, and investors are limited in liability to the amount of their investment.
You can check out the infographic for the diagrammatic representation of the What is Hedge Fund?
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Hedge Funds Fee Structures
Hedge Fund Managers are compensated with two types of Fees:
- Management Fee
- Performance-based Incentive Fee
A Management fee is measured by Asset under Management and is usually calculated as a percentage of the size of the fund. This fee can be anywhere from 1-4% of net assetsNet AssetsThe net asset on the balance sheet is the amount by which your total assets exceed your total liabilities and is calculated by simply adding what you own (assets) and subtract it from whatever you owe (liabilities). It is commonly known as net worth (NW). under management; however, 1-2% is the most common range seen.
The Performance-based incentive fees can be 15%-20% of the Profit that the Hedge Fund makes.
Due to the High Incentive-based fees, the hedge Fund Managers are always aiming at the absolute returnsAbsolute ReturnsAbsolute return refers to the percentage of value appreciation or depreciation of an asset or fund over a certain period. Such assets include mutual funds, stocks and fixed deposits. rather than just beating the benchmark returns.
Investors in Hedge Funds
The following are the major investors in Hedge funds:
- Pension Funds
- Charitable Foundations
- University Endowments
- High Net Worth Individuals
Minimum Investing Requirements in Hedge Fund
Remember that Hedge funds aren’t for everyone. You have to meet the definition of an accredited Investor to invest in Hedge Funds. You will be considered as an accredited Investor if you meet the following requirements:
- The net worth of more than $1 million, owned alone or jointly with a spouse.
- Earned $200,000 in each of the past two years.
- Earned $300,000 in each of the past two years when combined with a spouse.
- Having a reasonable expectation of making the same amount in the future.
Hedge Funds Strategies
A varied range of hedging strategies is available to hedge funds. Some of them are listed below:
- Long/Short Equity
- Market Neutral
- Merger ArbitrageMerger ArbitrageMerger Arbitrage, also known as risk arbitrage, is an event-driven investment strategy that aims to exploit uncertainties that exist between the period when the M&A is announced and when it is successfully completed. This strategy, mainly undertaken by hedge funds, involves buying and selling stocks of two merging companies to create risk-free profit.
- Convertible ArbitrageConvertible ArbitrageConvertible Arbitrage refers to the trading strategy used in order to capitalize on the pricing inefficiencies present between the stock and the convertible. The person using the strategy takes the long position in the convertible security and the short position in underlying common stock.
- Capital Structure Arbitrage
- Fixed-Income Arbitrage
- Global Macro
- Short Only
To know more about the strategies in you can go through our detailed article on Hedge Fund StrategiesHedge Fund StrategiesHedge fund strategies are a set of principles or instructions followed by a hedge fund in order to protect themselves against the movements of stocks or securities in the market and to make a profit on a very small working capital without risking the entire budget..
Key Differences between Hedge Funds and Mutual Funds
The performance of Mutual Funds is measured relative to its relevant index—for example, the S&P 500 Index or other similar mutual funds in that sector. In contrast, Hedge funds are expected to make a profit even though the relative indexes are down.
Mutual fundsMutual FundsA mutual fund is an investment fund that investors professionally manage by pooling money from multiple investors to initiate investment in securities individually held to provide greater diversification, long term gains and lower level of risks. are highly regulated. Hedge funds, on the other hand, are not so regulated as compared to Mutual funds.
Fees paid in the case of Mutual Funds depend upon the percentage of Assets under Management. In the case of hedge funds, there are fixed fees as well as incentive fees that are paid to the fund managers.
Where Mutual funds are not able to save their portfolio’s against declining markets, Hedge Funds can do so due to the various strategies used.
You can say that the performance of the Mutual funds is mainly dependent on the direction of the Equity Markets. In the case of Hedge funds, though, future performance is not drastically affected by the Equity market direction. Again the credit goes to the amazing strategies used here.
Benefits of Hedge Funds
- The majority of hedge funds have unique strategies crafted by their brainy Fund Managers. Due to this, funds can generate positive returns in both rising and falling equity and bond markets.
- There is a wide range of Hedge Funds Strategies available, which will help you meet your investment objective.
- Be sure to reduce the overall portfolio risk if you include hedge funds in your balanced portfolio.
- Years of StatisticsStatisticsStatistics is the science behind identifying, collecting, organizing and summarizing, analyzing, interpreting, and finally, presenting such data, either qualitative or quantitative, which helps make better and effective decisions with relevance. and Data have helped prove that hedge funds have higher returns and lower overall Risk than traditional investment funds.
- It is a long-term investment solution.
- It helps in Portfolio diversificationPortfolio DiversificationPortfolio diversification refers to the practice of investing in a different assets in order to maximize returns while minimizing risk. This way, the risk is kept to a minimal while the investor accumulates many assets. Investment diversification leads to a healthy portfolio..
Tips for Investing in Hedge Funds
- Be an Accredited Investor –You need to meet the minimum level of investment and income to be an accredited investor. Find out where you stand before investing.
- Know the Fees – The Management fee can be between 1%-2%, and the Incentive fee can be up to 20%. Understand the costs properly as prices can highly impact your return on investment.
- Understand the Fund Prospectus – Go through the fund prospectus and other related material properly. Ensure you understand the terms and conditions, the Risk involved, Strategies, Time horizon, etc.
- Know Limitations, if any – Understand the opportunities to redeem and the lock-up period correctly.
So that’s about what is Hedge Fund that I had to contribute. From what we have heard about Hedge funds until now, we can say that hedge funds have brought innovative investment strategies in this Investing world. It has given a new sense of excitement to the investment community.
So what do you say, sounds like a tremendous Investing idea?