Single Investor Hedge Funds Offer the Benefits of Managed Accounts and Additional Tax and Other Advantages for Hedge Fund Managers and Investors

Managed accounts started 2010 as the ostensible antidote to many of the more egregious evils experienced by hedge fund investors over the last two years.  Managed accounts offer transparency, liquidity, control and risk management, whereas during the credit crisis, many hedge funds and other investment vehicles offered opacity, gates, lack of control and increased risk.  While the case for managed accounts is not without valid objections – including administrative cost, allocation issues and other issues discussed more fully below – managed accounts are an increasingly popular method of accessing hedge fund strategies and managers while avoiding the downsides of commingled funds.  According to a February 2010 survey conducted by Preqin, the alternative investment data provider, 16 percent of institutional investors have a current allocation to managed accounts and a further 23 percent of institutional investors are considering an initial allocation to a managed account during 2010.  Similarly, 65 percent of fund of funds managers surveyed by Preqin either operate a managed account currently or are considering doing so during 2010.  Preqin also found that larger investors are more likely to demand, and larger managers are more likely to offer, managed accounts, and that the proportion of fund of funds managers operating managed accounts is greatest in North America (60 percent), followed by Asia and rest of world (including Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Israel, at 44 percent) then Europe (40 percent).  Recently, various hedge fund managers have been exploring an alternative structure that effectuates many of the goals of managed accounts, while offering a number of additional benefits and avoiding at least one of the chief downsides.  That alternative structure is the single investor hedge fund – as the name implies, a hedge fund with one outside investor (in addition to the manager’s investment).  To assist hedge fund managers and investors in evaluating whether a single investor hedge fund may be an appropriate alternative to a traditional hedge fund, on the one hand, or a managed account, on the other hand, this article discusses: the definition of a managed account; the six chief benefits and eight primary burdens of managed accounts versus hedge funds; the definition of a single investor hedge fund; the six chief benefits of single investor hedge funds over managed accounts; and the two primary downsides of single investor hedge funds versus managed accounts.

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