Legally, hedge funds are most often set up as private investment partnerships that are open to a limited number of investors and require a very large initial minimum investment. Investments in hedge funds are illiquid as they often require investors keep their money in the fund for at least one year.
For the most part, hedge funds (unlike mutual funds) are unregulated because they cater to sophisticated investors. In the U.S., laws require that the majority of investors in the fund be accredited. That is, they must earn a minimum amount of money annually and have a net worth of more than $1 million, along with a significant amount of investment knowledge. You can think of hedge funds as mutual funds for the super rich. They are similar to mutual funds in that investments are pooled and professionally managed, but differ in that the fund has far more flexibility in its investment strategies.
It is important to note that hedging is actually the practice of attempting to reduce risk, but the goal of most hedge funds is to maximize return on investment. The name is mostly historical, as the first hedge funds tried to hedge against the downside risk of a bear market by shorting the market (mutual funds generally can't enter into short positions as one of their primary goals). Nowadays, hedge funds use dozens of different strategies, so it isn't accurate to say that hedge funds just "hedge risk". In fact, because hedge fund managers make speculative investments, these funds can carry more risk than the overall market.
Investment dictionary. Academic. 2012.
Look at other dictionaries:
hedge fund — see fund 2 Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. hedge fund n. A mutual fun … Law dictionary
Hedge fund — n. (Finance) a mutual fund or partnership of investors who pool large sums of money to speculate in securities, increasing the risk of such activity by using borrowed money to leverage the investments, or by selling short. [PJC] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
hedge fund — hedge funds N COUNT A hedge fund is an investment fund that invests large amounts of money using methods that involve a lot of risk … English dictionary
hedge fund — hedge′ fund n. bus an open end investment company organized as a limited partnership and using high risk speculative methods to obtain large profits • Etymology: 1965–70 … From formal English to slang
hedge fund — ☆ hedge fund n. a partnership of investors who pool large sums for speculating in securities, often taking large risks, as by buying with borrowed funds or selling short … English World dictionary
Hedge fund — A hedge fund is a private investment fund open to a limited range of investors which is permitted by regulators to undertake a wider range of activities than other investment funds and which pays a performance fee to its investment manager.… … Wikipedia
Hedge fund — Hedgefonds (von engl. to hedge [hɛdʒ], „absichern“, engl. hedge fund; selten SAIV sophisticated alternative investment vehicle, engl. etwa für ausgefeiltes/anspruchsvolles alternatives Investitionsvehikel) sind eine spezielle Art von… … Deutsch Wikipedia
hedge fund — An investment vehicle that somewhat resembles a mutual fund, but with a number of important differences. If the fund is off shore , the fund does not have to adhere to any SEC regulations (and can only sell to non U.S. investors or investment… … Financial and business terms
Hedge fund — A fund that may employ a variety of techniques to enhance returns, such as both buying and shorting stocks based on a valuation model. The New York Times Financial Glossary * * * hedge fund hedge fund ➔ fund1 * * * A private investment fund… … Financial and business terms
hedge fund — noun a flexible investment company for a small number of large investors (usually the minimum investment is $1 million); can use high risk techniques (not allowed for mutual funds) such as short selling and heavy leveraging • Syn: ↑hedgefund •… … Useful english dictionary