Hedge funds are pools of money invested by individuals or groups of qualified investors who met federal requirements, which are determined by the US Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) in the United States. Today, there is much talk about regulations in the hedge fund market. The two leading financial market regulators, the SEC, and Financial Services Authority (FSA) seem to be slowly but steadily moving in direction of controlled regulation.
As hedge funds popularity grows year after year, the major concern is how such growth would impact broader markets in unforeseen ways. According to Richard Herring, finance professor at Wharton and co-director of the Wharton Financial Institutions Center, “The important issue that has not been much discussed publicly is the potential implications for the industryif hedge funds do reach a broader market.”Herring argues that regulation of hedge funds would be an irrevocable mistake, explaining further that “[r]egulation is in some sense is not compatible with the fundamental role and character of hedge funds”, adding that “hedge funds are designed by law with maximum flexibility.”
Recent trends in the hedge fund industry indicate continual improvements in their ability to cope up with systemic risk and reflect a much larger movement towards stability throughout global financial markets. Policymakers must keep in mind the fact such trends because the history of financial markets regulation reveals that financial and technological innovations often render regulations obsolete, requiring them to be restructured or either repealed. The hedge fund industryâs constantly and rapidly changing structure and practices almost guarantee that new regulation would at best be redundant and might even obliterate further developments.
The hedge fund industry has done a commendable job for the most part regulating itself. Hedge fund current regulations have served its purpose well, hedge funds are moving forward: current hedge fund assets are in excess of US$ 800 billion. In the first half of 2010, the United States witnessed a fundamental shift in the global hedge fund industry as it enters a period of significant growth set against financial recovery and increasing scrutiny from regulators and institutional investors. The recent pace has carried industry assets across the 1.5 trillion USD mark, with sentiment aimed for continued growth. The “renaissance”can be attributed majorly to strong performance in end of 2009, but net inflows have also steadily risen. Further testimony to the industryâs dramatic resurrection can be seen in the increasing number of hedge fund managers who are now closing their funds to new investors. Anticipated regulation, driven by external factors, is predicted to be injurious to the hedge fund industry on a global
level. But, if there is not a globally coordinated and managed regulatory effort, it is likely that some funds may choose exploit potential loop holes.
Investors are now focusing more than ever on liquidity and transparency. With these principles in place, investors have more control and are able to dictate terms of the fund to a greater scale. Additionally, the level and quality of investor due diligence has been continually rising. Also, an increase in managed accounts, single investor funds, distressed asset funds and funds investing in emerging markets has been noticed in the later months of 2010.