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San Francisco Hedge Fund Industry Event

BAHR Panel Discussion on Global Investing Trends
By Bart Mallon of Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP

The Bay Area Hedge Fund Roundtable convened again today at the Sens Restaurant in San Francisco to discuss the global investing trends and how those trends are affecting the hedge fund industry. The presentation was moderated by Ron Resnick (ConselWorks LLC) and included the following panel participants:

John Burbank (Passport Capital LLC)
John Shearman (Albourne America, LLC)
Matt Kratter (Kratter Capital LLC)
Patrick Wolff (Clarium Capital Management, LLC)

Overall the panel discussion was very interesting and I think that Ron did a very good job of moderating in a kind of “Meet the Press” type of way. The speakers all had interesting viewpoints and were able to keep the audience interested in the topics. Below I will give a very high level run-down of the major topics discussed – if anything does not make sense, it is likely a mistake in my hearing so please do not hold that against any of the speakers.

Additional note: this is not in any way an advertisement for any hedge fund and is not an offering of any interests in a hedge fund. I have never talked to any of the named speakers and everything I am writing below is on my own volition.*


John Burbank

The discussion was started when Ron asked John was his fund was investing in. John said that he is now investing in the United States in the same stuff as he was before. However, he spent a good deal of time discussing liquidity and how it will affect investment decisions going forward. Central to his discussion were his views on deflation. He ended this part of the discussion by noting that governments (especially the U.S. government) has so many tools to effect the financial markets (in addition to simply printing money) and that many actions are driven by the current liquidity situation.

Matt Kratter

I infer that Matt started his own hedge fund last year because he was asked whether it was a good or a bad time to start a hedge fund within the last twelve months. He noted that it was not the best time to be on your own but that the times serve as a good proving ground that a manager can withstand market downslides. Matt talked about variability of inflation going forward and that he is currently net short. He thinks that multiples are likely to retract in the future.

John Shearman

John was asked whether investor’s hedge fund expectations have changed. He said that investor expectations have come down a bit, but beleives that the forcase for the future has never been better. Post 2008 he sees that there has been a shifting of power back to hedge fund investors and he mentioned two buzzwords – lower fees and transparency. While fees have not really come down recently, there have been huge gains made in expectations of transparency. This is especially true with regard to valuation and verification of assets. Hedge funds have made these changes and it is relatively easy for them to say yes to such requests (as opposed to requests for fee decreases).

John seemed to indicate that there is more opportunity for investors to come together and present a united front with regard to what they want to see in these vehicles, but it has just not happened. A central reason is that foundations and endowments (two of the largest groups of hedge fund investors) are not really in a position to be an agent of change because they are examining the funds they are already invested in. He also mentioned a general increase in separately managed accounts noting that the central driving force is the investor’s need for control of assets – liquidity without conditions.

Patrick Wolff

Patrick was asked point blank while his group did not do as well this year. He said that, unfortunately, they had the wrong investments this year and that the drawdown was not a result of their risk management policies and procedures. Patrick talked about macro themes including China, volitility, carry trades over the last year and the fundamentals of major government players (centrally China and the U.S.). He feels there is a current bubble in China which is likely to last in the near term. He thought that a major macro issue moving forward will be how the governments will continue to be involved in the credit markets. Patrick believes that the U.S. has huge off balance sheet liabilities.

Other Question and Answers

What are the major trends moving forward?

John Burbank – governments changing the rules of the game as it is being played. What is going to happen will be driven by governments subject to: the price of the dollar, commodities, or China.

Why did gold hit an all-time high today?

Matt Kratter – I don’t know, but this is a question which everyone is asking – even the garbageman.

How is capital flowing?

John Shearman – there are a lot of opportunities in hedge funds – lots of alpha and distressed assets. Macro discretionary is a good play right now and there is a lot of interest in commodities.

How is fund raising in this environment?

Matt Kratter – fundraising has been slow since last year but there is more activity at the margins. Fundraising will probably stay difficult for awhile.

Are investors more interested in the investment side or infrastructure side during due diligence conversations?

John Burbank – all investor due diligence is taking longer. Current investors are coming back and asking questions they should have asked earlier. It is now similar to 2003 – there is a lot of excitement. Which makes sense because investors essentially have three choices: mutual funds, do-it-yourself, or hedge funds.

[Someone mentioned that capital is not there for a start up and the question arose as to whether two guys and a Bloomberg really had a chance to raise capital in this environment. John said that start up managers should not be afraid to start out small – he started with about $1MM in AUM and slowly grew to $12MM after three years (his firm now manages over $2 billion). John emphasized that over time good managers will be able to demonstrate their strategy and if the numbers are good, investors will eventually find such managers.]

What about hedge fund regulation?

Patrick Wolff – over hedge fund regulation is not a huge deal. If you are registering with the SEC you are going to be required to do things that, as a good business, you should be doing anyway. The key to regulation is that it needs to be sensible. Regulation itself is not bad.

Questions from the audience

When Ron asked the audience if there were any questions there was a long pause. I eventually asked the panel what they thought about the headlines recently regarding the U.S. dollar and whether it would remain the world’s reserve currency. Patrick responded first that worry about the dollar is overhyped. However, he did note that his fund has had some investors request share classes in a different currency.** John noted the practical limitations of moving toward another currency and noted that if a government needs to get a billion U.S. dollars it can happen, but that wouldn’t be the case with other currencies.

Note on People Who I Met

After the panel there was time to discuss the presentation and do some networking. I had the distinct pleasure of talking with a number of people at the event, including:

  • Jenny West of Probitas Partners (fund placement services)
  • Mason Snyder of Catalina Partners (risk advisory to investment management industry)
  • Rosemary Fanelli of CounselWorks (regulatory consulting for financial institutions)
  • Ron Resnick of CounselWorks(regulatory consulting for financial institutions)
  • Maria Hall of M.D. Hall & Company (CPA services for small funds)

* If you are a named speaker and would like your name and information taken out of this article, please contact me.

** I am in the process of writing an article on this topic – if you are a hedge fund manager who wants to create another class of fund interests denominated in another currency, please feel free to contact me to discuss.


Bart Mallon, Esq. of Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP runs Hedge Fund Law Blog and has written most all of the articles which appear on this website.  Mr. Mallon’s legal practice is devoted to helping emerging and start up hedge fund managers successfully launch a hedge fund.  If you are a hedge fund manager who is looking to start a hedge fund or register as an investment advisor, please contact us or call Mr. Mallon directly at 415-868-5345.  Other related hedge fund law articles include:

GIPS Compliance Information For Hedge Funds

Hedge Funds and GIPS Compliance

The Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Institute has spearheaded and implemented the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) for investment managers as a means of establishing a higher standard for compliance with measurement and reporting of hedge fund performance.  GIPS standards set forth a universal set of guidelines and standards for measuring, calculating, and presenting aggregate gain and loss percentages in discretionary, managed investment accounts. Compliance with GIPS standards is voluntary, but it helps investment managers to attract and retain institutional investors who may require a higher standard for disclosure and accurate reporting.

What is GIPS?

The reporting and measuring standards from which GIPS originated were developed by CFA Institute beginning in the late 1980’s and have been gradually modified and reevaluated over the years.  While the CFA Institute initiated and funded the development of GIPS, the GIPS Executive Committee is responsible for maintaining the standards.  The key provision of GIPS is the requirement to include all of a firm’s fee-paying, discretionary amounts in a ‘composite’, or an aggregate of portfolios that share common investment objectives or strategies. The goal of using composites is to ensure ease of comparability between firms due to enhanced consistency.  To further aid the comparison of fund performance, the standards specifically disallow ‘nondiscretionary’ accounts from being included in the composites (where certain client restrictions render the fund’s performance more reflective of the clients’ decisions than the managers’ decisions).  Understanding and adhering to strict composite construction requirements is critical to GIPS compliance.

When should a Manager use GIPS?

There are several advantages to complying with GIPS and getting third-party verification. First and foremost is the added credibility of your hedge fund brought on by the claim of compliance (to be used in presentations, marketing materials, advertising, service agreements, etc.).  This credibility can help reinforce investor trust and create new relationships with new prospective clients.  Secondly, the level of consistency brought on by adherence to GIPS creates a more cohesive set of procedures regarding the calculation and presentation of performance. Thirdly, compliance with GIPS can assist firms with keeping up with the requirements of the SEC and avoid encountering claims of fraudulent conduct.  This is especially important for managers who may have had a prior track record with such claims or have had any actions brought against them by the SEC – incorporating GIPS compliance standards into the hedge fund practice will vindicate these managers of their past and help rebuild investor trust.

Twelve Steps to GIPS Compliance

The following procedure has been recommended by GIPS Execute Committee members in order to establish an effective compliance program for your firm.

  1. Management support. Management must make a commitment of time and resources to bring the firm into compliance.
  2. Know the Standards. Assign individuals or teams to review and familiarize themselves with the Standards and to complete each subsequent step.
  3. Define the firm. The definition should accurately reflect how the entity is held out to the public and will determine the scope of firm wide assets under management.
  4. Define investment discretion. The Standards use the term “discretion” more broadly than just whether or not a manager can place trades for a client. Defining investment discretion is an important step in determining whether or not accounts must be included in a composite.
  5. Identify all accounts under management within the defined firm over the past five years, or since firm inception if less than five years. This should include all discretionary and nondiscretionary accounts, including terminated relationships.
  6. Determine if your firm has the appropriate books and records to support historical discretionary account performance.
  7. Separate the list of accounts into groups based on discretionary status, investment mandate, and/or other criteria. These groups will be the foundation for your composites.
  8. List and define the composites that will be constructed.
  9. Document your firm’s policies and procedures for establishing and maintaining compliance with the Standards.
  10. Document reasons for composite membership changes throughout each account’s history and reasons for nondiscretionary status, if applicable.
  11. Calculate composite performance and required annual statistics.
  12. Develop fully compliant marketing materials.

How to Get Started

As of 2007, 28 countries have adopted the GIPS standards or have had their local performance reporting standards endorsed by the GIPS Executive Committee.  Formally recognized in 29 major financial markets, GIPS compliances enables investment firms to fairly compete throughout the world and provides a standard framework to ensure that funds’ performance figures are directly comparable. Although it is in the best interest of any investment firm that wants to compete effectively and fairly to adhere to the GIPS standards, the issue for most firms is how to accomplish this successfully and cost-efficiently. For many firms, this may require adding GIPS experts to staff or turning to outside professionals, depending on the firm’s size, available resources, and overall business strategy. There are many GIPS service providers, including software vendors and verification/consulting firms, that can help investments firms become and remain GIPS compliant.

To help you select a service provider to help your firm get started with compliance efforts, you can refer to the list of GIPS Service Providers. You can also find the full text of the GIPS standards here.


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to start a hedge fund.  Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Forex Trading Software | Meta Trader 4


Meta Trader 4 – Online Forex Trading Platform

Meta Trader 4 is an online trading complex designed to provide broker services to customers at forex, futures and CFD markets.  This is a whole-cycle complex, which means that the trader will not need any other software to organize his/her broker services when using Meta Trader 4. The platform includes all necessary components for brokerage services via internet including the back office and dealing desk.  Currently, over 250 brokerage companies and banks worldwide have chosen this solution to meet their high standards of business performance.

The different functions and options of this system, allow great flexibility in trading. The MetaQuotes Language 4 allows users to incorporate their own strategies through the Expert Advisors, enabling the markets to be monitored automatically so not requiring constant supervision. The standard list of technical indicators may be expanded with the opportunity to add custom indicators as needed,  and real time demos are accessible through more than 35 brokerages free of charge.

Meta Trader 4 attempts to supply the sufficient information and tools in order to make the Forex traders’ decisions more appropriate and easy. The program has a simple and user friendly interface that allows traders to monitor their transactions and their account as well as performing technical analysis and develop Forex trading strategies of their own. In addition, the platform provides continuous real-time information and sophisticated technical analysis tools.

The cost of Meta Trader 4 is substantially lower than the alternative cost of creating a similar product, and is therefore a viable financial proposition to most financial institutions. Installation of the system into the full operational mode will take no more than one day, therefore saving a considerable amount of time for end users.

MetaTrader 4 is a premier business  solution for broker companies, banks, financial companies, and dealing centers. In addition to the points discussed above, the main advantages of the system are:

1.  Coverage of financial markets

  • The trading platform MetaTrader 4 covers all brokerage and trading activities at Forex, Futures and CFD markets.

2.   Multicurrency basis:

  • The system is designed on a multicurrency basis. It means that any currency can serve as a general currency used in the operation of the whole complex in any country and with any national currency.

3.  Economy and productivity:

  • Implemented data transfer and processing protocols are notable for their economy. It makes it possible to support several thousands of traders through a single server with the following configuration: Pentium 4 2 GHz, 512 DDR RAM, 80 GB HDD. New protocols reduce both the demands on datalink and their operational cost.

4.  Reliability:

  • In the case of damage to the historical data, the complex has backup and restoration systems. Also, the implemented synchronization allows to restore damaged historical databases within several minutes with the help of another MetaTrader 4 server.

5.  Safety:

  • To provide safety, all the information exchanged between parts of the complex is encrypted by 128-bit keys. Such solution guarantees safekeeping of information transferred and leaves no chance for a third person to use it. A built-in DDoS-attacks guard system raises the stability of operation of the server and the system as a whole.
    A new scheme of system working operation was created especially for DDoS-attacks resistance. With its help, you can hide the real IP-address of the server behind a number of access points (Data Centers). Data Centers also have a built-in DoS-attacks protection system; they can recognize and block such attacks. During distributed attacks at the system, only Data Centers are attacked; MetaTrader 4 Server continues its operation in regular mode. Thus, Data Centers increase the system’s stability to DoS and DDoS attacks.
    The implemented mechanisms of rights sharing make it possible to organize the security system with more effectiveness and to reduce the probability of ill-intentioned actions of company staff.

6.  Multilingual support:

  • MetaTrader 4 supports different languages, and a MultiLanguage Pack program is included into distributive packages. It provides translation of all program interfaces into any language. With the help of MultiLanguage Pack you can easily create any language and integrate it into the program. This feature of the system will bring MetaTrader 4 nearer to end-users in any country of the world.

7.  Application Program Interfaces:

  • MetaTrader 4 Server API makes it possible to customize the work of platform to meet your requirements. API can solve a wide range of problems:

– creating additional analyzers for finding a trend of monthly increase of traders;
– creating applications of integration into other systems;
– extending the functionality of the server;
– implementing its own system work control mechanisms;
– and do much more.

8.  Integration with web-services:

  • To provide traders with services of higher quality, the system supports the integration with web services (www, wap). This feature allows real-time publishing of quotations and charts on your site, dynamic tables containing contest results and much more.

9.  Flexibility of the system:

  • The platform possesses a wide range of customizable functions. You can set all parameters, from trade session time to detailed properties of financial instruments of each user groups.

10.  Subadministration:

  • Subadministration mechanisms allow leading many Introducing Brokers on one server quite easily. For processing all accounts and orders of the clients of your IBs, you will need one server only.

Overall, the newly released Meta Trader 4 platform is equipped to address a full range of account management needs and serves as a user-friendly front-end trading interface for dealings in the Forex, CFD, and futures markets.


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to start a hedge fund.  Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Bay Area Hedge Fund Roundtable Event

Panel Discussion on State of Hedge Fund Industry

Yesterday afternoon (May 6th) the Bay Area Hedge Fund Roundtable, a group of professionals within the hedge fund industry, gathered for a panel presentation entitled “Change…Critical Legal, Tax, Acounting and Regulatory Updates You Need to Know.”  The presentation was moderated by Pamela S. Nichter (Osterweis Capital Management) and included the following panel participants:

Vincent J. Calcagno (Rothstein Kass)
Geoffrey Haynes (Shartsis Friese)
Tony Hassan (Ernst & Young)
Anita K. Krug (Howard Rice)

Presentations like these are great because they allow professionals to share insights into what is going on in different parts of the industry – many of the topics discussed allowed the panelists to really dig deep into the issues and provide some context to what is happening at both the regulatory and investor levels.  I took notes during the presentation and will summarize some of the main points discussed by each of the presenters (please don’t hold anything against the speakers if I mis-paraphrase or mis-interpret and as always nothing in this summary is tax or legal advice)…

Anita K. Krug

Anita discussed a number of the laws which have been discussed or proposed over the past 6 to 8 months including the following:

  • Barney Frank’s Recent Comments (see Reuters article)
  • Mary Shapiro’s Recent Comments (see Bloomberg article where Shapiro says she wants the ability to make rules regulating hedge funds)
  • Discussion of the Hedge Fund Transparency Act which was proposed in the Senate earlier this year (see also Overview of the Hedge Fund Transparency Act)
  • Hedge Fund Advisor Registration Act which was proposed in the House earlier this year
  • Geithner’s hedge fund proposals (see NY Times article for background information)
  • Discussion of the past short selling rules (see HFLB article) and the new short selling rules which will be closer to the old “uptick” rule (see SEC overview; note: I have not yet had an opportunity to thoroughly review these proposed rules)
  • European Rules which have been proposed which may have an effect on US based managers with EU investors (Anita raised many of the same issues which were also raised in this article)

Geoffrey Haynes and Vincent J. Calcagno

Geoffrey and Vincent went back and forth discussing some of the tax issues which managers are likely to face this year and potentially going forward.  This discussion included the following issues:

  • Discussion of the new offshore deferral rules by dint of new Section 457A of the Internal Revenue Code (see generally this alert).  Note: discussions on the ramifications of this new section to managers who currently have deferral arrangements took a majority of the time.  There are a number of issues involved including issues with side pockets, options, and non-conventional performance fee periods.
  • San Francisco Payroll Tax of 1.5% (see background on this issue here)
  • Discussion of the Levin proposal to tax the carried interest as ordinary income (see Hedge Fund Carried Tax Increase?).  [The panelists seemed to think that Congress would not vote on this bill until sometime in 2010 (if the bill was actually even voted on) with an effective date, if passed, of sometime in 2010 – the panelists did not seem to think it would be retroactively applied.]
  • Discussion of a bill which would eliminate UBTI for U.S. based non-taxable investors investing in U.S. hedge funds which utilize leverage (note: I was not aware of this bill and am not sure what bill exactly was referred to – please feel free to contact me if you know about this bill).  The panelists seemed to think this bill was likely DOA.
  • Discussion of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Bill by Senator Levin (see Senator Levin’s press release)
  • Discussion of Obama’s Offshore Tax Plan (see generally the White House press release)

Tony Hassan

Tony discusses what is changing in the area of hedge fund operations.  Tony’s discussion of current topics was maybe one of the more important parts of the panel in terms of providing insight on current investing trends and due diligence requests.  Many of the items in this section were part of a dialogue between Tony and Vince as noted in the parenthesis below.

  • There is no secret that due diligence is a more central and important part of the investing process than it was previously.  (Tony and Vince)
  • Due diligence is also changing in many respects – at E&Y Tony has had specific requests from potential invests to send them directly the financial statements.  Of course this brings up many legal and client issues (the hedge fund, not the potential investor, is the client of E&Y) and because of this these requests are often denied. (Vince)
  • Managers are providing verified transparency “quarterly reviews” which aim to show investors that the fund’s assets are actually there.  (Vince)
  • Some funds are instituting a half-yearly audit (in addition to the end of year audit).  (Vince)
  • Some funds are instituting agreed upon procedure reports.  In these reports the auditor will come in an verify that certain procedures are being completed.  This may be especially important with regard to the valuation of the fund’s assets.  (Vince)
  • Tony noted that this is really a new form of due diligence and used the term “Hedge Fund Due Diligence 2.0” – a term I used in October of 2008 (see post).
  • Investor questions to hedge funds are changing.  While previous questions would have stopped after “Do you have a 3rd party administrator?”  Now the questioning continues – investors want to know about the administrators technical expertise, who exactly will be the account representative and what type of capital markets experience does that person or group have, what inputs will be used to value assets, etc.  Investors also want to know what sort of contingency plan is in place should the administrator fail or if there is a disaster; investors will want to know if the fund is keeping shadow books.  (Tony)
  • Tony also participated in the discussion with Pamela below with regard to managed accounts.

Pamela S. Nichter

Pamela, the moderator of the discussion, also weighted in on certain operational issues which fund managers should be prepared for in the new climate.  In general Ms. Nichter is seeing more investor requests and communications.  Now there is greater communication between the investor and the fund manager.  Ms. Nichter also discussed the trend toward greater liquidity and transparency through separate account structures.

Separate accounts are something that more and more investors are seeking but there are many considerations for managers.  Specifically separate accounts can be a drain on resources, especially if the investors request their own specific administrators or auditors.  Because of the greater amount of resources which need to go into the back office to handle what is in essence a more traditional asset management business, the manager must be ready to change the business model to a certain extent.  Specific issues will include:

  • having a robust trade allocation policy
  • understanding that there is likely to be a disparity of performance
  • potential registration issues
  • potential integration issues
  • performance reporting issues (may need to go back to GIPS)

Questions and Conclusion

After the panel finished their discussion the floor was open to questions.  During this time there were a number of good questions.  One issue focused on what will performance fees look like going forward which led to a discussion about creative performance fees (like instituting some sort of clawback provision like what is found in private equity funds).  Another issue was whether and to what extent the Managed Funds Association will be representing the industry during this time of legislative/regulatory changes.  The answer is that the MFA will be doing everything it possibly can to represent the hedge fund industry and it is our job to make sure that the MFA knows how the industry feels about many of the current legislative proposals.

Hedge Fund Consultant

Hedge fund consultants are individuals or firms that provide a variety of different services to hedge funds and hedge fund managers.  These individuals or firms typically have significant industry expertise and a strong network within the investment management industry.  These groups also tend to have a strong working knowledge of the mechanics of the hedge fund investment process.  Accordingly, managers will utilize hedge fund consultants for a variety of reasons in order to get the most out of their hedge fund. Continue reading

Hedge Fund Service Providers Overview

The hedge fund industry includes not only the hedge fund managers and the investors, but also the service providers that help the hedge fund and the manager with the day to day duties associated with running a hedge fund.

The industry has grown rapidly over the last decade and continues to develop at an ever rapid pace.  In the beginning there were hedge fund attorneys, prime brokers, hedge fund administrators, hedge fund auditors, but now we also have consultants, website designers, due diligence experts and compliance firms.  All of these businesses fall within the category of hedge fund service providers.  I’ve detailed the various roles of these businesses on other parts of this blog, but am producing this overview which should be especially helpful for start-up hedge funds. Continue reading

Hedge Fund Administrator – What is a Hedge Fund Administrator?

A hedge fund administrator is a service provider to the hedge fund; the main job of the administrator is to provide certain accounting and back office services to a hedge fund as detailed below.

Hedge fund administrator services

Generally, administrators will provide a variety of services to the hedge fund manager.  The central service is monthly or quarterly accounting of investor contributions and withdrawals and computing the profits and losses for the accounting period.  The administrator may also provide other back end services such as transfer agent services (handling the subscription documents and making sure checks are cashed or wires are appropriately handled).

A relatively new service which some administrators provide is a “second signer” service which is designed to give investors greater confidence that a hedge fund manager will not run off with their money.  Under a “second signer” agreement, the hedge fund manager will need to get a sign off from the administrator before the manager can make a transfer or a withdrawal from the fund’s account.

In addition to the above, the hedge fund administrator may perform the following duties:

  • calculating the management fee and performance fee
  • working with the auditor
  • keeping certain financial records
  • may act as the registered agent and registrar (offshore hedge funds)
  • Anti Money Laundering review (generally only for offshore hedge funds)

Three types of hedge fund administrators

Small administration firms – these types of administrators are very lean organizations which are controlled and run by one or two people.  Typically the one or two people will have significant experience in the hedge fund industry, many times with other administration firms, hedge fund audit firms and hedge fund consultants.  The typical client will be a start-up hedge fund.  While these administrators can handle funds with assets of up to and sometimes beyond $500 million, most of their clients will generally start with less than $50 or $100 million.

These administrators are going to be the most cost-effective solution for a start up hedge fund.  Additionally, these administrators often provide some of the best customer service – usually the manager will be able to talk to the principal at any time.  For these administrators, the manager will be looking at a start-up fee of anywhere from $500 – $1,500 and then a monthly administration fee of $750 – $1,500.

Medium-sized firms – these firms are usually established businesses with strong structure, have been around for a while, and have a fairly large and established client base.  It is expected that a medium-sized firm would have one to two principals with 10-20 years of experience in the hedge fund industry.  These firms will have clients that range in size from $50 to $500 million and may have clients which have $2 to $5 billion in assets.

Medium-sized firms will charge a start-up fee of $1,500 or more and will usually base their administration fee as a percentage (basis points) of AUM, subject to a minimum monthly fee which is usually around $2,000.

Large firms – these firms are well-established within the hedge fund industry and are thriving businesses themselves.  These firms may be subsidiaries of large international banks or (former) investment banks.  The principals of these firms are well-connected to the major players in the industry and most of the clients of these firms are the large hedge funds.  If a hedge fund uses a large firm for administration, the fund should expect to pay a minimum of around $5,000 a month.  Because of the relatively high costs of the large administrators, it may not make sense for a fund with less than $250 million to use such an administrator.

Offshore hedge fund administration

Offshore hedge fund administration generally refers to the administration of an offshore hedge fund.  Typically the process and function will be the same, but there are more issues that come into play with an offshore hedge fund.  Because offshore hedge fund fees can be structured in a variety of ways, the administrator may want to discuss the structure with the hedge fund attorney if there are any uncertainties with the structure.

Questions on hedge fund administrators

1.  How do I find a hedge fund administrator?

There are many ways you can find a hedge fund administrator and other hedge fund service providers.  Your hedge fund attorney can help recommend a administrator based on the needs of your fund.  Please note that not all administrators offer services to all types of hedge funds.  Please contact us if you would like us to recommend a hedge fund administrator (or if you have any other hedge fund administration questions).  Additionally, you can reference this survey of hedge fund administrators.

2.  Who pays for the costs of the administrator?

As I noted in an article on hedge fund expenses, the costs of the administrator are usually paid by the fund and not by the management company.  Some managers may choose to pay the administration costs so that these costs will not be a drag on performance.  You should discuss this issue with your attorney.  Additionally, please note that the costs above are general guidelines – if your strategy requires more in-depth valuation practices  (i.e. the fund trades hard to value instruments), the administration costs may be higher.

3.  Does a start-up hedge fund need an administrator?

Yes.  While there is no law that requires a domestic hedge fund to have an administrator, there is no real good reason why a hedge fund should not have an administrator.  Outside verification of a hedge fund’s numbers, especially given the current state of the capital markets, is becoming a requirement for hedge fund investors.  Additionally, there are law firms which will not work with start-up hedge funds that do not have an administrator.  Another consideration is the audit – if there are no independent third party numbers to review, the audit becomes more difficult and potentially more costly.