Legal and Practical Issues to Be Addressed When Converting a Hedge Fund Into a Mutual Fund

The volume of assets expected to flow into alternative mutual funds in the coming years is considerable.  See “Citi Prime Finance Report Describes the Competition among Traditional, Hedge and Private Equity Fund Managers for $1.3 Trillion in Liquid Alternative Assets (Part Two of Two),” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 6, No. 22 (May 30, 2013).  Recognizing this coming wave, some hedge fund managers have converted or explored the possibility of converting their hedge funds into alternative mutual funds.  See “Mechanics of a Counterintuitive Conversion of a Hedge Fund to a Mutual Fund,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 6, No. 29 (Jul. 25, 2013).  However, doing so involves a range of challenges relating to tax, operations, law, marketing, distribution, personnel, investors and related topics.  In an effort to unravel some of the knots in the process, the Hedge Fund Law Report recently interviewed Dave Carson, Vice President and Director of Client Strategies at Ultimus Fund Solutions.  Carson has two decades of investment management industry experience, including service as chief compliance officer and chief operating officer for mutual fund families.  Our interview covered, among other topics: portability of a track record from a hedge fund to a mutual fund; inclusion of alternative mutual funds in 401(k) and IRA menus; dealing with distributors; the practicability of converting hedge funds that use leverage, hold illiquids or make concentrated investments; conflicts in allocating opportunities between simultaneously managed hedge and mutual funds; tax considerations in reorganizing hedge funds; sub-advisory relationships and series trusts; investor consent issues; expenses; side letters; affiliate transactions; and the mutual fund disclosure regime.

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