Why and How Do Family Offices and Foundations Invest in Hedge Funds?

Family offices and foundations are an important source of investment capital for hedge funds and funds of funds (together, funds), particularly funds whose managers have a track record, well-developed infrastructure and the ability to demonstrate staying power.  See “Prime Broker Merlin Securities Develops Spectrum of Hedge Fund Investors; Event Hosted by Accounting Firm Marcum LLP Examines Marketing Implications of the Merlin Spectrum,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 3, No. 39 (Oct. 8, 2010).  However, family offices and foundations have specific objectives in investing in hedge funds and specific concerns with their hedge fund investments.  Understanding these objectives and concerns is important to hedge fund managers because effective fund marketing should be a refined process rather than a blunt instrument.  Marketing that raises long-term dollars invariably caters to the specific circumstances of an investor rather than generally (or only) touting the achievements of the manager.  This is particularly true in marketing to family offices – entities that often have a range of objectives including but not limited to absolute returns.  See “New Rothstein Kass Study Explains the ‘Consultative’ Approach to Marketing to Single-Family Offices and the Importance of That Approach for Smaller Hedge Fund Managers,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 4, No. 20 (Jun. 17, 2011).  To help hedge fund managers enrich their understanding of the goals and concerns of family offices and foundations, this article describes the pertinent findings from a December 2012 survey of family offices and foundations conducted by Infovest21.  In particular, this article discusses the survey findings on topics including fund fees, allocation criteria, role of assets under management in manager selection, transparency and related topics.

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