Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs Asset Management announced that it would launch a new mutual fund that — apparently — will bring the joy of hedge fund investing to the masses. For as little as $1,000, the Multi-Manager Alternatives Fund (GMAMX) allows mom-and-pop investors to put their life savings into some of Wall Street’s riskiest and most expensive products. This “fund of funds” will, according to its prospectus, let investors gain exposure to the trading strategies of hedge funds.
The obvious question is: “Why would investors want that?”
Despite all the media coverage, glitz and glam of hedge funds, they have not done well for their investors. They have high — some say excessively high — fees; their short- and long-term performance has been poor.
Before delving into the details, let’s define exactly what we are discussing: Hedge funds are private investment partnerships. The general partner is typically the fund manager (on occasion it includes his financial backers). The investors in the fund are the limited partners, normally institutions and accredited investors. This partnership structure typically has a max of 99 limited partners. Unlike mutual funds or brokerages, hedge funds are mostly unregulated.