Hedge Fund Characteristics and Working Principles

Hedge funds are alternative investments made available to special investors like large institutions and individuals with big assets. They use pooled funds which employ different means to earn active returns for investors. These pools of underlying securities offer flexibility in investment. This investment vehicle may be managed aggressively or use leverage and derivatives to generate high returns both in local and foreign markets. Currently, hedge funds are not regulated by United States Securities Exchange.

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This allows hedge funds to invest in a wider pool of securities than mutual funds. They are capable of investing in traditional securities like stock, real estate, bonds, and commodities. They are designed to take advantage of certain market opportunities using differentsophisticated and risky strategies. The law identifies them as private investments with limited partnerships, a limited number of accredited investors and usually requires large sums for an initial investment. Investors are required to keep their funds for at least year after which withdrawals are made quarterly or bi-annually.

Basic Characteristics of Hedge Funds

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Hedge funds are available to qualified investors based on minimum annual income. This is an amount not less than 0.2 million dollars in the last two years or a 1 million dollars net worth. The securities and exchange commission is responsible for establishing whether investors are capable of handling risks.Hedge funds offer a wide range of investment including land, currencies, stocks, real estates, among others. They also use borrowed money to increase returns as leverage. Hedge funds charge both a performance fee and an expense ratio. Fees are provided as 2 and 20 percent for management and a cut for any gains respectively. These flexible and high-return investment vehicles are available to wealthy investors but are very risky.

How They Work

Hedge funds use long to short strategies where investors can buy stock in the former, sell stock with borrowed money and buy later when the price falls in the latter. Most of them invest in derivatives based on buying and selling another security for a given price. They use an investment technique called leverage where borrowed money is used for investment which the aim of increasing returns, but very risky at the same time. Leverage is one way in which hedge funds seek to increase gains and offset losses by hedging investments using complex methods. Some common strategies are convertible, emerging markets, activist, arbitrage, fixed income, equity long-short, options strategy, funds of funds, macro and statistical arbitrage.Word-Hedge-Fund-on-mini-chalkboard

Investors always find it hard to sell their shares since they generate income over a lock-up period. This is different to mutual funds which have a net asset value calculated each day allowing investors to sell shares at any time. The compensation of hedge fund managers also varies from that of mutual funds managers. Hedge fund managers receive a percentage of returns earned from investors and a small management fee usually 1 to 4 percent of the net asset value. This is convenient to investors when faced with poorly performing managers. The level of risk depends on management skills and the strategy adopted by the manager.

In conclusion, hedge funds are open to a limited number of investors. The law demands accreditation of investors with a requirement of minimum annual income. They must have a net worth of 1 million dollars and adequate investment knowledge. There are many strategies for investment, but they are sophisticated and risky in nature. Investors are sometimes faced with challenges but hedge funds but continue to offer an alternative form of investment with long-term returns. They have a future due to minimal regulation, low management fee and a potential for high returns means.

What Are Penny Stocks?

A penny stock is a stock that trades at a low price without the major market exchange. Its market capitalization is small. Penny stocks are considered high risk and very speculative. This is due to their high bid-ask spreads, lack of liquidity, limited following, minimal capitalization, and disclosure. Penny stocks usually trade over the counter via pink sheets and OTC Bulletin Board.

Nowadays, penny stocks have evolved from stocks that used to trade for less than a dollar per share. The SEC has changed the definition to comprise all shares which trade below $5.penny-stocks

A majority of penny stocks do not trade on major market exchanges. But, there some big companies which trade below $5 per share on the major market exchanges like Nasdaq. Their size is based on market capitalization. For instance, Curis Inc. (CRIS) is a small biotechnology firm that trades on the Nasdaq. Hence, a penny stock is a small firm with speculative and highly illiquid shares. The firm is prone to fewer regulatory and filing standards. They are also prone to few listing requirements.

Points to Note About Penny Stock

These stocks are best suited for high-risk investors. They have a higher reward and risk. This is because penny stocks are very volatile. The high risk associated with penny stocks require that investors take precautions when investing in penny stocks. For instance, a shareholder should have a stop-loss order that is established before trading. It allows the investor to leave the trade if the market performs negatively.

Despite penny stocks having high rewards, investors should be realistic. An investor should not expect high returns in a week’s time. This is because shares take months or even years to mature.Data-analyzing-in-stock-market

Penny stocks are usually growing firms which lack enough money and resources. They are usually high-risk and the trading volumes are low.

For protection, trade in penny stocks which are listed on the Nasdaq or American Stock Exchange. Your protection will be ensured by the regulations that regulate these exchanges. Do not trade in penny stocks which are not listed. These include stocks listed on the pink sheet system in the OTC market.

Reasons why Penny Stocks are Risky

Lack of information Available to Public

In order to make a sound investment, you need information so as to make an informed decision. Micro-cap companies make information hard to get. Companies listed on the pink sheet system are not required to file with the SEC. They are hence not scrutinized publicly like stocks that file with the SEC.

No minimum standards

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Stocks on the pink sheets and OTCBB need not fulfill a minimum standard requirement. When stocks fail to maintain themselves in the major exchanges, they move to the smaller exchanges. Minimum standards act as a benchmark for firms and cushion investors.

Lack of history

Micro-cap firms are usually either bankrupt or newly formed. They usually lack track records or have poor ones. Hence, it is hard to determine a stock’s potential.

Liquidity

When a stock is illiquid, you will not be able to sell the stock. You won’t find a buyer to buy the stock and you might have to lower the price to attract buyers.
As an investment, penny stocks are very risky. Hence you need to do a lot of due diligence before investing in them.