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High-Water Marks and Hedge Fund Management Contracts

Author

Listed:
  • William N. Goetzmann

    (Yale School of Management)

  • Jonathan E. Ingersoll

    (Yale School of Management)

  • Stephen A. Ross

    (Sloan School of Management at MIT)

Abstract

Incentive fees for money managers are frequently accompanied by high-water mark provisions that condition the payment of the performance fee upon exceeding the previously achieved maximum share value. In this paper, we show that hedge fund performance fees are valuable to money managers, and conversely, represent a claim on a significant proportion of investor wealth. The high-water mark provisions in these contracts limit the value of the performance fees. We provide a closed-form solution to the cost of the high-water mark contract under certain conditions. Our results provide a framework for valuation of a hedge fund management company. Copyright (c) 2003 by the American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • William N. Goetzmann & Jonathan E. Ingersoll & Stephen A. Ross, 2003. "High-Water Marks and Hedge Fund Management Contracts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(4), pages 1685-1718, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:58:y:2003:i:4:p:1685-1718
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr, 2000. "Digital Contracts: Simple Tools for Pricing Complex Derivatives," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(1), pages 67-88, January.
    2. Jennifer N. Carpenter, 2000. "Does Option Compensation Increase Managerial Risk Appetite?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2311-2331, October.
    3. William N. Goetzmann & Nadav Peles, 1997. "Cognitive Dissonance And Mutual Fund Investors," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 20(2), pages 145-158, June.
    4. Chevalier, Judith & Ellison, Glenn, 1997. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1167-1200, December.
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    JEL classification:

    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services

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