The biggest issue for start up hedge funds (and also established hedge fund managers) is how to grow assets under management. Growing a hedge fund’s capital base is very important because increased AUM mean both increased management fees and performance fees (assuming the fund has positive performance returns). This article focuses on traditional avenues of raising capital for a hedge fund.
Raising Hedge Fund Capital – Friends and Family
Most hedge funds raise capital to start up through their friends and families. Often this can be a significant sum, other times it can be relatively small. I have seen some hedge funds start with as little as $500,000 and sometimes less. Often, after a hedge fund has a few months of performance (assuming again positive performance) these friends and family members will invest more money. Other friends and family members, who did not originally invest, may also decided to invest. Family members of investors may also be persuaded to invest in the hedge fund.
Generally investments from friends and family are completed fairly quickly and through less formal conversations than from other types of investors. However, the hedge fund manager must always make sure that the friends and family have the fund’s offering documents and have made the appropriate representations in the subscription documents.
After an initial investment from friends and family, it is important for a start up manager to focus on the trading as it is most important to have a good 6-12 month track record that you will be able to market to other potential investors.
Raising Hedge Fund Capital – High Net Worth Individual Investors
High net worth investors (generally qualified purchasers as well as some qualified clients and accredited investors) often invest in hedge funds. High net worth investors will usually have legal and investing teams which will vet the managers and the strategy. Usually there will at least be a minimum amount of due diligence requests on the manager and the fund. Managers can be introduced to high net worth investors through their own networks or through other channels such as hedge fund conferences, hedge fund databases or through other means.
Raising Hedge Fund Capital – Institutional Investors
Institutional investors will occasionally invest in hedge funds with a track record shorter than one year. Generally in these cases the hedge fund sticks out to them for various reasons. Such reasons might be that the hedge fund performance was just spectacular, or the institutional investor likes the way the particular investment strategy fits within the institution’s allocation design, or the hedge fund manager may have a strong pedigree which appeals to the institutional investor.
Whatever the reason, getting an investment from an institutional investors is usually a longer and more in depth process than receiving money from friends and family or from a high net worth investor. The hedge fund manager will need to first establish a meeting with the institutional investor. Generally the meeting will be at the office of the institution and the manager will have a certain amount of time to give his pitch, usually through a pitchbook presentation. Some managers of the institution will look carefully at these presentations; others will not even open the cover. However, the hedge fund manager should be ready to answer any number of different questions from the institution regarding the program. Such questions will likely cover the following topics: risk management procedures, expected performance in down markets, performance analytics, etc. The hedge fund manager should act composed and answer each question directly and completely – this is the time for the manager to show his knowledge of the investment strategy and sell the strategy to others.
Either before or after the meeting with the institution, the hedge fund manager will likely be asked to complete some basic due diligence. I’ve outlined a sample request in this article: Institutional Hedge Fund Due Diligence. After the institution has interviewed and vetted a manager it may take some time before the institution actually invests in the fund. This happens for a variety of reasons and the hedge fund manager is urged to stay patient during the process.
Non-tradtional forms of raising hedge fund capital
I will be discussing other ways to raise capital in subsequent articles. Such non-traditional ways include: utilizing the services of a third party marketer, capital introduction services, hedge fund conferences, and hedge fund databases.
Legal Implications of Raising Capital for a Hedge Fund
As most hedge fund managers know, under the Regulation D offering rules managers cannot raise capital through any type of general advertising or solicitation. This means that they cannot: buy advertising in any financial publications, advertise generally on the internet (but please see article on Hedge Fund Websites), cold call potential investors and or engage in other similar activities. Additionally, hedge fund managers, and others raising money for hedge funds, must be aware of and abide by all broker-dealer regulations. This is a very important issue, so please discuss it with your hedge fund attorney (please see Guide to Broker-Dealer Registration).
Please contact us if you have a story on raising capital for you hedge fund – we would like to hear your story and potentially profile your fund on our blog. Other articles which are related to items in this article include: