Many businesses that operate in the energy and natural resources sector are organized as master limited partnerships (MLPs) due to favorable tax treatment, including income tax deferral for investors in the early years of their MLP investments. Funds established to own MLPs can provide diversified exposure to the MLP sector for investors. While many of these funds are organized as registered funds, hedge fund managers willing to establish such registered funds may be positioned to capitalize on the opportunity to attract investors interested in tax-efficient energy and natural resource investing. See generally “How Can Hedge Fund Managers Organize and Operate Alternative Mutual Funds to Access Retail Capital (Part Two of Two)
,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 6, No. 6 (Feb. 7, 2013). A recent panel discussion sponsored by Ropes & Gray LLP discussed various options that are available to fund managers interested in establishing an MLP-focused fund. Panelists, including Michael Doherty and Amy Snyder, both partners at Ropes & Gray LLP, as well as guest speaker Robert Prado, a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, addressed the tax benefits provided by MLPs and tax and structuring considerations for funds seeking to invest in MLPs. This article summarizes the primary lessons from the panel discussion.