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Hedge funds have become a new craze among the investors who are looking for higher net returns and to diversify their investment portfolio. However, before investing one should first have a basic idea of what hedge funds are all about. A hedge fund is characteristically a privately organized joint investment fund, predominately invested in public traded securities. It is a pool of invested capital, used primarily by wealthy or financially experienced individuals and institutions. Usually, law to just 50 to 100 investors per fund restrictions hedge funds. Thus, most hedge funds set very high standards for an individual to be a qualified purchaser.
Most often, an investor with a net worth of above one million dollars and an annual income exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand dollars is only considered as a qualified customer. Hedge funds are very similar to mutual funds. The difference between the two is of strategies that they use. Hedge funds use a set of strategies other than investing long in bonds, equity, mutual funds and money markets. Thus, its strategies can generate positive returns irrespective of the rise and fall in the equity and bond markets.
One way to invest in hedge funds is to invest in a company just before a major merchant, as shares go up significantly once the merchant occurs. This technique is called 'Risk Arbitrage'. However one should have a prior knowledge of the merger before buying large amounts of shares in a company, as it is a very high-risk investment strategy since some menders may not occur at all. Another technique, which one may adopt while investing in hedge funds, is 'Leverage'. This means using borrowed capital in to own capital for investment. 'Selling Short' is also a popular strategy where one invests in apparently undervalued securities, trading commodities and FX contracts, and takes advantage of the difference between current market price and the highest purchase price in events such as mergers.
Even though most hedge funds promise higher net returns, they are accommodated by some limits. For instance, in case of many hedge funds, there are certain restrictions on one's right to redeem his shares. Often, there is a lock-in period that can extend to over a year. During this period one can not redeem his shares. Here, one should reconsider his options and take into consideration a long-term perspective before investing in hedge funds. Moreover, hedge funds also have a higher failure rate than traditional funds. Many of them fail by the second or third year of operation. It has been estimated that about 5.7% of the existing 8500 hedge funds closed in 2005. Also, because of their non-regulation there are no official hedge funds statistics. Beside, hedge funds are more suited for large businesses because they have a price tag.
However, hedge fund is a very helpful tool for the diversification of one's investment portfolio. It reduces the overall portfolio risk and volatility, as it is not related with the broad stock market indices. So it is a smart choice for those who are willing to take the risk.