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Alternative Market Briefing

Other voices: Hedge fund fees - Suggestions for the future

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This article was authored by Bryan Goh, First Avenue Partners LLP, London.

I have argued before that hedge fund fees were poorly designed, and in that article had suggested a possible design for performance fees. Here I provide more detail into what I think is a practical solution which addresses some but not all of the problems with current fee structures.

Management fees: This is the simpler issue to deal with. First of all, one has to question what is the purpose of management fees. In traditional long only mutual funds, management fees are the compensation for the manager for managing the fund. With the rise of absolute return funds, and their performance fees, management fees were no longer intended to be the primary compensation for managing of assets. The industry generally represents that management fees are compensation for overheads and the costs of running the asset management business.

If this is in fact the case, then the current flat percentage of assets management fee does not do as represented. The costs and overheads of running an asset management business are not linear in the size of assets under management. There are economies of scale. By charging a flat percentage of assets under management, these economies of scale accrue to the investment manager and not to the investor.

If management fees are indeed intended to cover overheads and costs, then a sliding scale is closer t......................

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