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AARP Getting Started in Hedge Funds. From Launching a Hedge by Daniel A. Strachman

By Daniel A. Strachman

AARP electronic versions give you sensible counsel, confirmed ideas, and specialist tips.

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If a manager is unwilling to spend time discussing strategy, skills, and background, then investors probably should look elsewhere. Another mistake is chasing so-called hot money—which is money that flows to the best-performing manager for a quarter or two. The right thing to do is to find managers who perform consistently over time. As an investor you should expect up months and quarters and down months and quarters and, more important, information regarding both periods. It is important to understand where the manager's performance is or is not coming from.

Although—because of the secrecy surrounding the operation—it is unclear who lost what, it is apparent that many of Wall Street's most senior executives took some very big hits when the firm went down. The rescue plan reduced all of the investors' stakes to under 10 percent of what they had been. —faced personal losses. A number of partners at the famed consulting firm McKinsey & Co. lost money as well. The irony of the situation is that in the wake of the collapse, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the New York Post all reported that a number of investors were quite happy that earlier in 1998 Long-Term Capital had returned money to them.

The reality is that most hedge funds have far less than $500 million in assets under management and, in most cases, every single trade that is executed is a calculated move—one in which risk and reward have been measured before a buy or sell order is placed. It seems that regardless of how often a hedge fund manager talks to the press or appears on one of the financial news networks, the industry cannot seem to shed the stigma of being made up of gunslingers and buccaneers who operate in a secret world.

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