What are Hedge Funds?
A hedge fund is a managed pooled fund for alternative investment method which employs trading into complex products including equities, derivatives, real estate, currencies and many others. The performance of the fund is measured in absolute return units.
As the name suggests, hedge fund tries to “hedge” the risk associated with a particular investment choice based on the price relevant information. Hedge fund managers choose from the variety of options from stocks to bonds and commodities to currencies. Sometimes they may invest their own money to a fund to leverage the magnifying effect of the investment.
How did it start?
Alfred Winslow Jones is regarded as a pioneer in the field of hedge fund management, and he launched the first hedge fund in 1949. Alfred structured the funds by finding the loopholes in the regulations and reaping benefits from them. Alfred formed an investment partnership and committed his own money in the partnership. He fixed his remuneration in the form of performance incentive, which was 20% of profits.
Alfred, in his endeavour, combined shorting and leverage, and hedged them against the market movements and reduced the risk exposure. He chose equal short and long positions for his portfolio. The overall impact of the combination of long and short positions, his portfolio became more stable with lower risks.
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Many fund managers joined Alfred to gain fame and fortune. Some of them even went to start their own fund houses and an SEC report of 1968 reported 140 hedge funds in the United States of America.
During the stock market boom of the late 1960s led to a belief that Hedge Funds underperformed than the overall market. Many hedge fund managers dropped the idea of long term and short term positions and did not feel the need for risk hedging.
To take the benefits of the market boom, many fund managers moved out from the Alfred technique of lowering market movement risks. The fund managers moved boldly to the riskier strategies, which led to heavy losses in 1969-70. The bear market of 1973-74 drove a massive plunge in hedge funds and saw closure of many such funds due to heavy losses.
During the mid-80s, hedge funds again became centre of attraction for large investors due to the Julian Robertson’s Tiger Fund. The fund was one of the many global macro funds that used leveraged investments in securities and currencies after careful assessments of global macroeconomic and political situations.
Tiger Fund, in 1985, correctly forecasted the end of the four-year trend of the US dollar appreciation against currencies of Europe and Japan and speculated in non-US currency call options. A report in the year 1986, reveals that since its inception, Tiger Fund gave an average of 43% return to its investors.
During the late 1990s, hedge fund suffered one of the largest losses. Quantum Fund lost US$2 billion in 1998 during the Russian debt crisis. Tiger Fund lost more than US$2 billion in trading of Japanese Yen with respect to the US dollar. The losses and redemption of money by the investors led to the closure of the Tiger Fund in 2000.
What are the different types of hedge funds?
Hedge funds can differ based on the strategy chosen by the manager after consulting the investors. The strategy is laid out to the investors through a prospectus before going forward with it. This makes a hedge fund more flexible as investors are always aware of about where the funds are going.
Thus, hedge funds can be of the following types:
How is a hedge fund different from a mutual fund?
In operation, hedge funds and mutual funds may sound the same as they both involve a pooled sum of funds being invested. However, there are some fundamental differences between both. These include:
How is it doing now?
The hedge fund industry has evolved substantially, and their numbers are in thousands and managing trillion dollars of investment around the globe. Their Modulus Operandi has also evolved over the year. They ask their investors to put the money in locking period of a minimum of 1 year.
Hedge funds are usually open to qualified investors. The fees charged by the fund managers are also generally on the higher side, around 2% of the underline asset value plus the performance fee on gains generated.
The basic principle of hedging the investment has now changed, and the key focus is to maximise profits or to give higher returns on the investments. To achieve higher returns, fund managers often put their money on higher risk elements.
Fund managers use leverage to increase the spread of profit, but at the same time, leveraging can incur more loss than the actual investment would have made. Speculative investment has the potential of higher risk and huge losses.
Being said that, the past financial blunders of hedge fund have also provided expensive learning and experience to the fund managers. Building upon the legacy, hedge funds have given higher returns over the years.
The average rate of returns of hedge funds attracts most of the wealthy investors towards them. They invest in anything from bonds to securities to currencies and even real estate. There is no fixed rule of investment or instrument for investment, and no definition could cover the entire system of hedge funds.
What are the two sides of investing in Hedge Funds?
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What are accounts payable? Accounts payable is the amount of cash a company is liable to pay to its suppliers and clear dues. As current liabilities of the company, accounts payable is required to be settled over the next twelve months. It also shows the obligations of the business over the next year. Accounts payable is required to be repaid in a short period, depending on the relationship with suppliers. It is essentially a kind of short term debt, which is necessary to honour to prevent default. As a part of the company’s working capital, it is widely used in analysing the cash flow of the business and cash flow trends over a period. Accounts payable may also depict the bargaining power of the company with its vendor and suppliers. A vendor or supplier may give the customer longer credit period to settle the cash compared to other customers. The customer here is the company, which will incur accounts payable after buying goods on credit from the vendor. There could be many reasons why the vendor is providing a more extended credit period to the firm such as long term relationship, bargaining power of the firm, strategic needs of the vendor, the scale of goods or services. By maintaining a more extended repayment period to supplier and shorter cash realisation period from the customer, the company would be able to improve the working capital cycle and need funds to support the business-as-usual. However, prudent working capital management calls for not overtly stretching the payable days as it might lead to dissatisfaction of supplier. Also, investors tend to closely watch the payable days cycle to determine the financial health of the business. When the financial conditions of a firm deteriorate, the management tend to delay the payment to their suppliers. What is accounts payable turnover ratio? Accounts payable turnover ratio shows the capability of a firm to pay cash to its customer after credit purchases. It is counted as an essential ratio to analyse the cash management attribute of the firm and its relationship with vendors or suppliers. It is calculated by dividing purchases by average accounts payable. Purchases by the company are calculated as the sum of the cost of sales and net inventory in a given period: Now let’s understand this the help of an example. Let us suppose, Cost of sales of Company XYZ for the period was $60,000, and XYZ began with inventories worth $21000 and ended at $15000. Accounts payable at the beginning was $20000, and $15000 at the end. Now the purchases will be $66000 (60000+21000-15000). The average accounts payable will be $17500. Therefore, the accounts payable turnover ratio will be 3.77x. Dividing the number of weeks in a year by the accounts payable turnover ratio will give the number of weeks the company takes on average to settle its payables. In this case, it will be around 13.8 weeks (52/3.77).
What is the Dark Web? The dark web is one such portion of the World Wide Web which is not accessible by regular search engines. The dark web is considered a hotbed for criminal activities, and it is much more than that. Various websites exist on an encrypted network inside the dark web. Standard web browsers and programs cannot find these websites. Once inside the dark web, different sites and pages can be accessed like one does on the web. Scientists believe that the internet we see is only 4% of the entire ocean of the web, meaning the 96% consists of the "Deep and Dark Web". The user interface used in the dark web is usually internet-based, but it utilises special software which is not part of the standard ones. There are dozens of web browsers to surf the internet, but they all work in the same way. These standard browsers use ports and protocols to request, transfer and view data on the Internet. The website you access may look familiar, but as you enter, it may be illegal or something familiar but otherwise not monitored by anyone else. Therefore, the deep web and the dark web are famous for being anonymous. Also read: Cyber Espionage Campaign: Strings that tie China, Australia and the US How to access dark web browser? In order to access a few areas which are restricted, the user may need a password and a process to follow. A special software called TOR (The Onion Router) or the Freenet has these non-standard connections. These browsers are unlike standard internet browsers and have a process to access. They allow the users to browse around the dark web and are focused on keeping the user identity anonymous. If hacked or accessed, the regular web browser can easily provide user information such as who the user is and whereabouts. Though the dark web is providing 100% anonymity, federal agencies have been successful in tracking down criminal activities on the dark web. It is often said that the person you are talking to on the dark web could either be an FBI agent or a criminal. Image: Kalkine What happens inside the world of the dark web? The dark web is famous for allowing sinister activities, but many users go on the dark web to access information which otherwise may not be accessible on standard internet. Such as users from extremely oppressive governments who cut access to the world for their citizens. Unfortunately, such confidential environments also provide open platforms to criminals, terrorists and other such individuals involved in illegal activities. Hence, experts advise users to not access the dark web even out of curiosity as it is a lawless environment. There have been many incidents where innocent, curious users were trapped and forced to get involved in criminal activities or their digital devices hacked and compromised without their knowledge. A study conducted by a University of Surrey researcher Dr Michael McGuires in 2019, Into the Web of Profit, shows that the dark web has become worse in recent times. Since 2016 of all the listings on the dark web suggested, 60% could harm companies. Everything illegal and criminal can be found on the dark web, it also has other legitimate options such as chess clubs or book clubs, but because of the anonymity, the user will not know whom he/she is interacting with. Inside the dark web, anonymity and lawless nature make the crimes which exist otherwise in our society hard to trace. The payment procedure inside the dark web is also different from the World Wide Web. Most often, Bitcoin and Monero cryptocurrency are used for the transactions. RELATED READ: Knock Knock! Cybercriminal at Your Doorstep What’s the difference between the deep web and dark web? The dark web is part of the entire deep web and is hidden from regular browsing access. Most people confuse the deep web and the dark web as one entity. It is not. The deep web content includes anything hidden and restricted behind the security wall such as content which otherwise requires paywall or sign-in or blocked by the author. Content which cannot be easily accessible on regular internet such as medical records, membership websites, paid content are available on the deep web; hence it is also called Invisible Web. No one really knows the total size of the internet, but the experts believe that the standard World Wide Web consists of only 4% internet, the deep web consists of 90% and dark web consists of 6% of the entire internet. ALSO READ: Technology has changed the way we work amid the COVID-19 crisis: A look at in-demand technologies Image: Kalkine Also read: It happens again, NZX being bullied by Cyber-attackers- Down for the fourth day What kind of risk companies face due to the dark web? The Into the Web of Profit report listed below threats various organisations around the world are facing, especially the ones who have weak or insufficient cybersecurity measures. Malware attacks Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks Botnets Trojan, keyloggers, exploits Espionage Credentials access Phishing Refunds Customer data Operational data Financial data Intellectual property/ trade secrets Also read: Cybersecurity and the Requirement of a Resilient Environment in Australia Are there advantages and disadvantages to the dark web? The dark web provides complete anonymity, the users get complete privacy to perform any activity, be it illegal or legal. Many countries in the world still have authoritarian regimes offering no civil rights to their people. To such oppressed lot, the dark web provides an opportunity to access news, information, data and also express their views. The dark web is also a perfect place for law agencies to map criminal activities while being undercover. It is also easy to commit gruesome crimes through the dark web as it is complicated and lawless. Criminals can easily use the dark web to compromise someone's privacy, steal data or private information or even hire someone to commit murder. Do internet users need to be concerned about the dark web? The simple answer is no unless the user is using the dark web. Study says that most young people visit the dark web out of curiosity. They do not want to indulge in any criminal activity but want to see how the hidden and secret world of the dark web operates. And that is where the possibility of the electronic device IP address getting hacked by other criminals to perform their criminal activities lies. The earliest use of darknet dates back to the year 2000. Freenet was created at the University of Edinburgh based on a student research paper. Ian Clark wrote the paper in 1999 on the possibility of such an encrypted internet base. Freenet was created to oppose censorship and provide a platform for free speech. The most powerful dark web is TOR, and it was created by the United States government to have a secure encrypted communication in case of emergency and complete disaster. Even today, many law agencies are secretly active inside the world of the dark web to gain access in the criminal world and stay one step ahead.
Considered as the best hedge fund manager of his generation, David Tepper is an American businessman with net worth of USD 12 billion. He is a President and Founder of an US-based fund management company, Appaloosa Management.
Earmarking is a term used in the banking industry to refer to funds, which has been set aside to pay for some specific projects. The term is usually associated with transactions as well as earmarked transactions, which could be defined as the business transaction, made to claim any pre-allocated fund to meet the expenditure.