Hedge fund

A hedge fund is an investment vehicle and a business structure that pools capital from a number of investors and invests in securities and other instruments. It is administered by a professional management firm, and often structured as a limited partnership, limited liability company, or similar vehicle. Hedge funds are generally distinct from mutual funds as their use of leverage is not capped by regulators and distinct from private equity funds as the majority of hedge funds invest in relatively liquid assets.

The name "hedge fund" originated from the hedging techniques used by some of the first of these funds. Over time the types and nature of the hedging concepts expanded, as did the different types of investment vehicles. The term came to represent many of these types of investment vehicles, so hedge funds today do not necessarily hedge. Hedge funds invest in a diverse range of markets and use a wide variety of investment styles and financial instruments.

Many hedge fund investment strategies aim to achieve a positive return on investment regardless of whether markets are rising or falling ("absolute return"). Hedge fund managers often invest money of their own in the fund they manage, which serves to align their own interests with those of the investors in the fund.

Some hedge funds have several billion dollars of assets under management (AUM). As of 2009, hedge funds represented 1.1% of the total funds and assets held by financial institutions. As of June 2013, the estimated size of the global hedge fund industry was US$2.4 trillion.

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