Addressing (and Resisting) Demands for Changes in Hedge Fund Manager Compensation

While the unprecedented market events of 2008 and 2009 have resulted in pressure upon fund liquidity terms and governance provisions, market forces have resulted in requests from some investors for changes to the manner in which hedge fund managers are compensated for their services.  Assuming that market demand will ensure the continued existence of the hedge fund industry, it may be safe also to assume that, in light of recent fund restructurings, as well as the imposition of gates/suspensions, and the use of true or “synthetic” side pockets, some forceful investors will begin to seek certain concessions from fund managers.  Over the past year or so, a small number of investors have indeed begun, in some cases very vocally and publicly, to criticize the incentive compensation structure for hedge fund managers that has developed to date.  In a guest article, Ira Kustin, a Partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, analyzes the demands for changes in hedge fund managers compensation, including discussions of: reasons why fund managers may resist calls for changes, separation of “new” and “old” funds, adjustments to management fees, adjustments to incentive compensation and complications arising from possible adjustments.

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