Wednesday, June 15, 2005

What protections do I have if I purchase a hedge fund?

Hedge fund investors do not receive all of the federal and state law protections that commonly apply to most registered investments. For example, you won't get the same level of disclosures from a hedge fund that you'll get from registered investments. Without the disclosures that the securities laws require for most registered investments, it can be quite difficult to verify representations you may receive from a hedge fund. You should also be aware that, while the SEC may conduct examinations of any hedge fund manager that is registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act, the SEC and other securities regulators generally have limited ability to check routinely on hedge fund activities.

The SEC can take action against a hedge fund that defrauds investors, and we have brought a number of fraud cases involving hedge funds. Commonly in these cases, hedge fund advisers misrepresented their experience and the fund's track record. Other cases were classic "Ponzi schemes," where early investors were paid off to make the scheme look legitimate. In some of the cases we have brought, the hedge funds sent phony account statements to investors to camouflage the fact that their money had been stolen. That's why it is extremely important to thoroughly check out every aspect of any hedge fund you might consider as an investment. If you'd like to see an example of hedge fund fraud, click here.

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