What Should Hedge Fund Managers Expect When ERISA Plans Conduct Due Diligence On and Negotiate For Investments in Their Funds?

Pension and other plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) have sought out hedge fund investments as a way of achieving more attractive risk-adjusted returns.  However, ERISA plan trustees must be careful to fulfill their fiduciary duties and comply with other ERISA requirements when investing plan assets in hedge funds.  Because such regulations can be daunting, a recent program provided a roadmap for ERISA plans considering making investments in alternative investment funds.  Specifically, the program provided both general insights into key criteria that ERISA plans consider when evaluating hedge fund managers as well as specific insights concerning the types of provisions that ERISA plans negotiate for in hedge fund subscription documents and side letters.  The program was instructive not only for ERISA plan investors, but also for managers who seek to raise assets from ERISA plan investors.  This article summarizes the key takeaways from the program.  See also “Application of the QPAM and INHAM ERISA Class Exemptions to Hedge Fund Managers,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 5, No. 46 (Dec. 6, 2012).

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