A type of investment fund with very high fees for investors and a focus on complex financial derivatives. Hedge funds charge around 20% of returns (sometimes a lot more) plus a flat fee of typically 2%.
Originally hedge funds were based on the concept of risk hedging; high-yield investments are always riskier than low-yield ones, so a fund manager could presumably put all the money in one instrument with enormous risk and hope for the best. That is, to put it bluntly, insane. So the manager uses a strategy of hedging risk as cheaply as possible, such as a very elaborate combination of derivatives that rise in value if the main asset declines in value.
Hedge funds are organized to be very exclusive, requiring a very long commitment and limited membership. The managers are much more daring and will take much more aggressive risks than mutual funds.
The largest hedge fund company is JP MorganChase.
During the first decade of the '00's, hedge funds outperformed most other asset classes. But when they melt down, like LTCM in 1997, it can be a huge event.
Prices shown in USD.
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