Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hedge funds aim at bird in the hand

With raising assets becoming more difficult, hedge funds need to focus on retention. Funds need to realize that institutions of all sizes have suffered losses and are scrutinizing all of their managers. The spectrum of communications, including investor letters, meeting with investors, and media relations need to be stepped up as part of a broader effort to compete for allocations.

Investors need more detail of how funds are managing in the current environment, which opportunities they are targeting and why. Some funds are choosing to share more information about specific investments. See previous post

A few funds with significant losses are thinking creatively about management and incentive fees. This is a good strategy because it recognizes the fact that investors have been hurt across the board, not just in one fund. For example a single stock fund run by William Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management is down 90%. Pershing Square is helping investors recoup losses by suspending incentive fees on their investments in other Pershing funds until they are whole. It might not satisfy all investors, but demonstrates the degree to which Pershing will go to retain investors. See shareholder letter from Pershing below.

Hedge funds have always competed aggressively for assets. The battle now is to keep assets from walking out the door.

Pershing Square IV Letter to Investors

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