What is a Hedge Fund?

The President’s Working Group on Financial Markets Report of the Asset Managers’ Committee uses this as a definition of “hedge fund.”

By “hedge fund” we mean a pooled investment vehicle that generally meets most, if not all, of the following criteria:  (i) it is not marketed to the general public (i.e., it is privately offered), (ii) its investors are limited to high net worth individuals and institutions, (iii) it is not registered as an investment company under relevant laws (e.g., U.S. Investment Company Act of 1940), (iv) its assets are managed by a professional investment management firm that is compensated in part based upon investment performance of the vehicle, (v) its primary investment objective is investing in a liquid portfolio of securities and other investment assets, and (vi) it has periodic but restricted or limited investor redemption rights. (This description is based in part on the definition in the Managed Funds Association’s 2007 Sound Practices for Hedge Fund Managers.) Although hedge funds may invest in private equity and real estate, this Report is not addressed to the specific considerations of private equity or real estate funds.  We use the terms “alternative asset manager” and “manager” to refer to the entity that establishes the investment profile and strategies for the hedge fund and makes the investment decisions on its behalf.