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Hedge Funds - Meaning, Types, Strategies, and More

Best Multi Cap Mutual Funds in India

 

Hedge Funds pool capital from accredited or institutional investors and use various strategies to generate returns for their investors. These funds are managed more actively and aggressively than traditional investment funds, aiming to achieve positive returns regardless of the overall market conditions. Hedge Funds are known for their flexibility in investment strategies, including traditional and alternative investments.

ICICI Bank offers a reliable platform to invest in such funds and allows you to grow your wealth.

Here are the key characteristics of Hedge Funds:

Accredited investors: Hedge Funds often cater to high net-worth individuals, institutional investors and investors who meet specific financial criteria. This exclusivity is due to the higher risks and complex strategies employed by the funds.

Diverse investment strategies: Hedge Funds use various strategies to achieve returns. These strategies may include long and short stock positions, leverage, derivatives trading, arbitrage and other techniques. The goal is to generate positive returns irrespective of the market conditions.

Management & performance fees: Hedge Fund managers charge both management and performance fees. The management fee is a percentage of the total assets under management, while the performance fee is a percentage of the fund's profits. This fee structure aligns the interests of fund managers with those of investors.

Leverage: Hedge Funds often use leverage or borrowed money to increase investment positions. While this can enhance returns, it also increases the level of risks and potential losses.

Flexibility and adaptability: Unlike traditional funds, Hedge Funds give investors the flexibility to invest in various assets including stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and derivatives. This adaptability allows them to capitalise on various market opportunities.

Risk management: While Hedge Funds aim to generate high returns, they also focus on managing risks. Risk management is crucial for strategies and many Hedge Fund investors rely on advanced risk assessment models.

Lack of regulatory oversight: Hedge Funds often face limited regulatory inspection as compared to Mutual Funds. This gives fund managers more freedom; however, this also means that investors should conduct thorough due diligence before investing.

Decoding Hedge Funds: What sets them apart?

Hedge Funds gather capital from accredited high net-worth individuals and institutional investors. The goal is to generate high returns by addressing a diverse range of assets using unique investment strategies, keeping aside the risks and maximising investors’ value.

In India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) introduced Hedge Funds under the Alternative Investment Funds Regulations in 2012. Classified as Category-III alternative investment funds, Hedge Funds in India are yet to achieve popularity, awaiting further regulation.

Unlike Mutual Funds, which follow SEBI guidelines, Hedge Funds often operate as limited partnerships with more flexibility in investment strategies.

Cracking the code: How do Hedge Funds operate?

Hedge Funds use various trading techniques, including derivatives like futures and options traded on stock exchanges. These financial instruments derive their value from an underlying asset, offering Hedge Funds a dynamic approach to investing. Their use of leverage, essentially borrowing funds to invest and the ability to short-sell securities allows them to profit from falling stock prices. While these strategies can yield significant returns, they also have a higher risk than traditional investment methods.

Navigating strategies: What are different Hedge Fund strategies?

Hedge Funds use diverse strategies based on the securities they invest in. Let's explore some common investment strategies:

  • Long or short equity: Taking into consideration long and short stock positions, this strategy aims for returns based on individual company performance.

  • Global macro: This strategy invests in various assets influenced by global events like changes in interest rates or currency exchange rates.

  • Event-driven: This involves investing in companies experiencing significant corporate events such as mergers, acquisitions or bankruptcy.

  • Quantitative: Using mathematical models and algorithms to identify investment opportunities.

Understanding the tax landscape: How do Hedge Funds fare in India?

Unlike traditional Mutual Funds that enjoy pass-through status for taxation, Hedge Funds are taxed at the fund level in India. These funds incur a heavy tax burden, falling under the taxation regulations of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs). Under Category-III of AIF, annual earnings exceeding Rs 5 crore are subject to a tax rate of 42.74%.

Classifying Hedge Funds: Exploring types and accessibility

There are various types of Hedge Funds. These include:

  • Offshore Hedge Funds: Located in low-tax countries, accessible to investors globally.

  • Domestic Hedge Funds: Available to investors who are subject to the origin country’s taxation.

  • Fund of Funds: A unique Mutual Fund type investing in multiple Hedge Funds rather than individual stocks or bonds.

Risks and returns: Navigating the Hedge Fund landscape

Hedge Funds have a higher risk profile due to their complex strategies and investments in non-publicly traded assets. Despite the risks, many Hedge Funds outperform traditional investments, making them appealing to investors with a deep understanding of the associated risks.

Spotting the differences: Hedge Funds vs. Mutual Funds

Both Hedge Funds and Mutual Funds pool money from investors, but their approaches and characteristics differ:

Parameters

Mutual Funds

Hedge Funds

Return

Benchmark-beating returns

Higher returns than those from traditional investment options

Management

Actively or passively managed

Actively managed

Fees

Based on AUM

Based on performance

Transparency

Very high, frequently published reports

Limited information disclosed to investors only

Regulation

High

Limited

Liquidity

High

Specific to the fund

Cost

Expense ratios as per SEBI norms

Specific to the fund

Investor type

Retail investors

High net-worth individuals

Minimum investment

Generally low

At least Rs 1 crore

Tax

Pass-through status for taxation

Not pass-through; taxed at the fund level

Navigating the complexities: Key considerations before investing in Hedge Funds

Before investing in Hedge Funds, keep these in mind:

  • Complex nature: Hedge Funds use advanced investment techniques, requiring a high level of knowledge to understand.

  • Higher risk, higher returns: These funds seek higher returns through riskier strategies.

  • High entry bar: With a minimum investment of Rs 1 crore, these funds are not suitable for every investor.

  • Unpredictable returns: Be prepared for the unpredictable nature of Hedge Fund returns.

Conclusion:

Hedge Funds are a great way to create wealth. Although it comes with a slightly higher risk, its returns can be worth taking the risk. Depending on your financial goals and risk appetite, make decisions accordingly.

For a smooth experience, you can always rely on ICICI Bank's investment platform. Log in to ICICI Bank Net Banking Investments and Insurance> Buy Mutual Funds, select ‘Top categories’, choose the scheme and invest.

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