Want to set-up your own hedge fund? If so,
you're not alone. According to a recent report by the Financial
Times, last year more than 1,100 new hedge funds launched globally,
the highest number since 2007.
There are many factors that will determine the successful launch
of a new hedge fund. Your hedge fund must have a competitive
advantage over others in the market. You must have a clearly
defined investment strategy with a successful track record (at
least 2-3 years) and have a front-, middle- and back-office. You
must be able to raise capital. And you'll have to source and
grow assets and run the fund as a profitable business, while
simultaneously producing positive returns. Raising capital is often
the stumbling block.
Seed capital is important for the following reasons:
It demonstrates to other investors that someone has faith in
the hedge fund manager;
Initial investors need not be concerned with the total expense
ratio of the fund;
It allows the hedge fund manager to cover expenses; and
From an investor's perspective "everybody wants to be
first to be second".
Potential sources of seed capital include:
Own capital and capital of friends and family;
Seed capital providers;
Financial advisors, wealth-management and family offices;
"Seeders" like to see that your own money is a
significant portion of the fund – you must have "skin in
The vast majority of top hedge fund managers got their start
through seeders. Often the seeder is the management team's
former employer or former client.
An investment by a seeder is a high-risk investment, but one
that can reap significant rewards if the fund becomes a sensation.
Well-known "seeders" include Blackstone, Goldman Sachs
and Reservoir Capital.
We're seeing some innovative approaches from seeders to
start-up hedge funds, including potentially taking an equity stake
in the fund or a portion of the hedge fund manager's 2/20 fees.
Capacity rights, enhanced liquidity and transparency rights and fee
discounts/rebates could also form part of the terms.
Hedge fund managers may also choose to sell minority stakes in
the entity managing the fund to raise capital to seed their funds
and to cover some of their start-up costs. However, in return for
the provision of such seed capital, seeders may insist on certain
veto or other rights to obtain a level of control over the
activities of the hedge fund manager.
We have also seen funds being formed by established hedge fund
managers in conjunction with start-up managers. The established
manager will act as the investment manager with the start-up
manager acting as the sub-advisor and the fund being branded with
the established hedge fund manager's name.
The idea being to enable the start-up manager to raise capital
on the strength of the existing hedge fund manager's name and
develop a reputation as a sub-advisor to the fund. At which point
the start-up manager takes over as investment manager and the fund
is re-branded using their name – with the existing hedge fund
manager retaining the benefit of some fee sharing arrangement.
Start-ups are also turning to seeders with back-office
resources, as rising regulatory costs require compliance officers,
Despite the challenges that exist, we're seeing a
significant rise in the flow of start-up hedge funds.
Originally published in the Hedgeweek Cayman Special
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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