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Fees on Fees in Funds of Funds

  • Stephen J. Brown


    (NYU Stern School of Business)

  • William N. Goetzmann


    (Yale School of Management, International Center for Finance)

  • Bing Liang


    (University of Massachusetts at Amherst - Department of Finance & Operations)

Funds of funds are an increasingly popular avenue for hedge fund investment. Despite the increasing interest in hedge funds as an alternative asset class, the high degree of fund specific risk and the lack of transparency may give fiduciaries pause. In addition, many of the most attractive hedge funds are closed to new investment. Funds of funds resolve these issues by providing investors with diversification across manager styles and professional oversight of fund operations that can provide the necessary degree of due diligence. In addition, many such funds hold shares in hedge funds otherwise closed to new investment allowing smaller investors access to the most sought-after managers. However, the diversification, oversight and access comes at the cost of a multiplication of the fees paid by the investor. One would expect that the information advantage of funds of funds would more than compensate investors for these fees. Unfortunately, individual hedge funds dominate fund of funds on an after-fee return or Sharpe ratio basis. In this paper we argue that the disappointing after-fee performance of some fund of funds may be explained by the nature of this fee arrangement. Fund of funds providers pass on individual hedge fund incentive fees in the form of after-fee returns, although they are in a better position to hedge these fees than are their investors. We examine a new fee arrangement emerging in the industry that may provide better incentives at a lower cost to investors in these funds.

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Paper provided by Yale School of Management in its series Yale School of Management Working Papers with number ysm18.

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Date of creation: 05 Mar 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:ysm18
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  1. Jennifer N. Carpenter, 2000. "Does Option Compensation Increase Managerial Risk Appetite?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2311-2331, October.
  2. Sharpe, W F, 1981. "Decentralized Investment Management," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(2), pages 217-34, May.
  3. Jennifer Carpenter, 1999. "Does Option Compensation Increase Managerial Risk Appetite?," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 99-076, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  4. Fung, William & Hsieh, David A, 2001. "The Risk in Hedge Fund Strategies: Theory and Evidence from Trend Followers," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(2), pages 313-41.
  5. Brown, Stephen J & Goetzmann, William N & Ibbotson, Roger G, 1999. "Offshore Hedge Funds: Survival and Performance, 1989-95," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(1), pages 91-117, January.
  6. William N. Goetzmann & Jonathan E. Ingersoll, Jr. & Stephen A. Ross, 2004. "High Water Marks," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm22, Yale School of Management.
  7. Fung, William & Hsieh, David A, 1997. "Empirical Characteristics of Dynamic Trading Strategies: The Case of Hedge Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 10(2), pages 275-302.
  8. Stephen J. Brown, 2001. "Careers and Survival: Competition and Risk in the Hedge Fund and CTA Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1869-1886, October.
  9. Brown, Stephen J, et al, 1992. "Survivorship Bias in Performance Studies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(4), pages 553-80.
  10. Edwin J. Elton & Martin J. Gruber & Christopher R. Blake, 2003. "Incentive Fees and Mutual Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 779-804, 04.
  11. Fung, William & Hsieh, David A., 2000. "Performance Characteristics of Hedge Funds and Commodity Funds: Natural vs. Spurious Biases," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(03), pages 291-307, September.
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