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Why is it called a hedge fund?
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What is a Hedge Fund?
Who was the top hedge fund manager in 2008?
What is the best Hedge Fund?
What color are the glasses of hedge fund managers?
Hedge fund risk?
Describe the legal structure of a hedge fund?
What are some of the benefits of hedge funds?
Who manages hedge funds?
How much does it cost to run a hedge fund?
How are hedge fund managers compensated?
Hedge funds were conceived as a way to generate positive investment returns regardless of market direction. To that end, hedge funds can sell short, trade in options and futures and use other strategies to hedge against market risk. However, hedge funds have become more varied in style and some, while still called hedge funds, do little to no hedging against market risk.
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For the most part, hedge funds (unlike mutual funds) are unregulated because they cater to sophisticated investors. In the U.S., laws require that the majority of investors in the fund be accredited. That is, they must earn a minimum amount of money annually and have a net worth of more than $1 million, along with a significant amount of investment knowledge. You can think of hedge funds as mutual funds for the super rich. They are similar to mutual funds in that investments are pooled and professionally managed, but differ in that the fund has far more flexibility in its investment strategies.
It is important to note that hedging is actually the practice of attempting to reduce risk, but the goal of most hedge funds is to maximize return on investment. The name is mostly historical, as the first hedge funds tried to hedge against the downside risk of a bear market by shorting the market (mutual funds generally can't enter into short positions as one of their primary goals). Nowadays, hedge funds use dozens of different strategies, so it isn't accurate to say that hedge funds just "hedge risk". In fact, because hedge fund managers make speculative investments, these funds can carry more risk than the overall market.
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