Thu. Jun 1st, 2023

Hedge Funds Vs Mutual Funds

Mutual and hedge funds both offer managed portfolios to investors, yet each differ in many ways.

Mutual funds provide an efficient, cost-cutting way to create a diversified stock portfolio. Unlike hedge funds, which may only be accessible to certain types of investors (typically the wealthy), mutual funds are available to everyone and every type of investor alike – even the average investor.


Hedge funds and mutual funds are two forms of investment vehicles designed to make money for investors. Both use pooled contributions from multiple investors to purchase securities with professional fund management overseeing them.

Mutual funds differ significantly from hedge funds in that they are regulated by the government and thus can invest in an array of assets while being able to tap into an extensive investor pool.

However, they do not possess the flexibility or capacity for taking as much risk as hedge funds, meaning their returns tend to be subpar.

Financial advisors impose various fees, including a management fee of 2% of the value of assets under management and an additional 20% cut called ‘carried interest’ from any profits they generate.

As opposed to mutual funds, hedge funds typically require large minimum investments and are only accessible to accredited investors such as individuals, institutions or pension plans with an established wealth or income level.

Investment opportunities with restricted accounts offer higher returns than their traditional counterparts; however, withdrawal may not be as accessible causing stress for many investors.

Hedge funds require higher minimum investments than mutual funds; typically $5-10 million or higher to ensure that those investing are qualified to participate.

As they assume more financial expertise and understand the risks that come with investments, only accredited investors are permitted to join these funds.

Other than their costs, these two investment vehicles also vary widely in other ways that make them distinct. Some of the major distinctions include who may invest, any fees charged and the strategy employed to invest.

Hedge funds are more regulated than mutual funds, yet still have the ability to use strategies with potentially higher returns, including short selling, trading in complex derivative instruments, investing in deep discount securities and borrowing to boost returns.

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Hedge funds and mutual funds are investment vehicles that pool money from multiple investors to invest in various financial securities. Professional fund managers manage this money for optimal returns over time. Hedge and mutual funds are popular with retail investors looking for guaranteed growth of their funds over time.

Before selecting the appropriate hedge fund, it’s essential to understand its various characteristics such as legal structures, liquidity levels, investor base composition and performance metrics.

First and foremost, one major distinction between hedge funds and mutual funds lies in their respective investment eligibility requirements: Hedge funds tend to accept only accredited investors (i.e. individuals with substantial income or savings who meet specific eligibility requirements, pension funds, university endowments or foundations) who possess sufficient expertise for investing.

Accredited investors possess a greater understanding of risk than average investors, which enables them to make better decisions and invest in riskier vehicles such as hedge funds.

However, hedge funds typically require an initial minimum investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars or pounds; as a result, they are best suited for those with either considerable wealth or an extremely strong risk tolerance.

Hedge funds may seem riskier than mutual funds, yet their returns in bear markets can often exceed mutual fund returns. Therefore, investing in hedge funds should only be done after conducting extensive research and consulting a professional fund manager.

Hedge funds often use more complex strategies than mutual funds and charge higher fees; this is often due to them using sophisticated techniques like derivatives trading, short selling, or investing in illiquid assets in order to achieve returns for their clients.

These funds also typically charge a “two-and-20” fee structure, consisting of 2% management fees plus 20% of their profits (known as carried interest). They are only able to do this due to their more complex strategies.


Mutual and hedge funds are two forms of investment vehicles which enable numerous investors to pool their money to be professionally managed and invested into an array of portfolio investments. They differ significantly in several regards; their primary distinction being in their pace and strategies of operation.

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Hedge funds are private pools of money gathered from accredited investors – individuals with high net worths, institutions such as pension funds or family offices with significant sums to invest, etc. In contrast to mutual funds which accept investors of any level or risk tolerance, hedge funds typically require minimum investments from only those willing to take on the risks involved with employing certain strategies employed by hedge funds.

Liquidity refers to the ease with which assets can be converted to cash without losing their monetary value. Cash, stocks and bonds are considered highly liquid assets while tangible items like real estate may take longer and cost more to sell.

Market liquidity can be measured by measuring the volume of trading in an asset, while accounting liquidity refers to the ability of businesses to quickly convert cash and assets into cash so as to meet short-term obligations such as paying bills or borrowing money.

Liquidity can vary significantly depending on the industry in which a company operates, making it imperative that businesses evaluate their own. A shipbuilding firm might have large amounts of equipment which cannot easily be converted to cash; similarly, retailers may possess inventory but lack enough funds available to hire workers who will sell it.

Liquidity is essential to business, helping avoid a liquidity crisis when they run short of cash to cover bills or repay debts. Analysts typically use various ratios such as current ratio, quick ratio and acid test ratio to measure company liquidity.


Mutual funds pool the savings of multiple investors and invest it in stocks, bonds and other financial instruments that offer higher returns than savings accounts alone can. Hedge funds differ in that they pool only wealthy and qualified investors who are willing to accept greater risk than retail investors would.

Hedge funds are more flexible in their investment strategies than mutual funds and can use smaller price discrepancies in the market to exploit, while using leverage to expand trading positions for increased returns.

Due to this structure, hedge fund profits are subject to significantly lower capital gains rates compared to rates applicable for interest, dividends and foreign income. Furthermore, hedge funds are taxed as pass-through entities – meaning profits are distributed back out among investors who then report them on their individual tax returns.

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One notable distinction between hedge funds and mutual funds is that hedge funds tend to be located within the United States because their managers are subject to tax based on where they reside, rather than where their fund was registered.

Hedge funds in the United States typically take the form of limited partnerships (LPs) or limited liability companies (LLCs), both of which are treated as pass-through entities for tax purposes. Investors will typically receive a K-1 form from their fund so they can report their share of its profits when filing their individual tax returns.

Some hedge funds structure their management fees as compensation for services rather than profit allocation, which may have tax repercussions, particularly with long-term capital gains.

Mutual fund managers, however, are subject to ordinary income tax rates; however, their carry portion – that which they receive as compensation for managing investments – tends to be taxed at much lower rates.

Switching funds can have serious tax repercussions for investors who make frequent changes; switching may trigger capital gains or losses on sold units that exceed or fall below what was originally purchased, making the issue of investing taxable. Therefore, it’s crucial that this be discussed with your financial advisor prior to taking any actions.

Jeffrey Augers
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By Jeffrey Augers

Jeffrey Augers is a highly skilled and experienced financial analyst with over 12 years of experience in the finance industry. He has a proven track record of delivering exceptional financial insights and recommendations to clients, empowering them to make informed decisions and achieve their financial goals. Jeffrey holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.