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Hedge fund strategies Back  
The global hedge fund market is now worth over $1 trillion. This column identifies the key strategies adopted by hedge funds.
Convertible arbitrage: This strategy is identified by hedge investing in the convertible securities of a company. A typical investment is to be long the convertible bond and short the common stock of the same company. Positions are designed to generate profits from the fixed income security as well as the short sale of stock, while protecting principal from market moves.

Distressed securities: Fund managers in this non-traditional strategy invest in the debt, equity or trade claims of companies in financial distress or already in default. The securities of companies in distressed or defaulted situations typically trade at substantial discounts to par value due to difficulties in analysing a proper value for such securities, lack of street coverage, or simply an inability on behalf of traditional investors to accurately value such claims or direct their legal interests during restructuring proceedings.

Emerging markets: This strategy involves equity or fixed income investing in emerging markets around the world. Because many emerging markets do not allow short selling, nor offer viable futures or other derivative products with which to hedge, emerging market investing often employs a long-only strategy.

Equity long bias: Equity Long/Short managers are typically considered long-biased when the average net long exposure of their portfolio is greater than 30 per cent.

Equity long/short: This directional strategy involves equity-oriented investing on both the long and short sides of the market. The objective is not to be market neutral. Managers have the ability to shift from value to growth, from small to medium to large capitalisation stocks, and from a net long position to a net short position. Managers may use futures and options to hedge. The focus may be regional or sector specific.

Market neutral: This investment strategy is designed to exploit equity market inefficiencies and usually involves being simultaneously long and short matched equity portfolios of the same size within a country. Market neutral portfolios are designed to be either beta or currency neutral, or both. Well-designed portfolios typically control for industry, sector, market capitalisation, and other exposures. Leverage is often applied to enhance returns.

Equity short bias: Short biased managers take short positions in mostly equities and derivatives. The short bias of a manager's portfolio must be constantly greater than zero to be classified in this category.

Event driven: This strategy is defined as ‘special situations’ investing designed to capture price movement generated by a significant pending corporate event such as a merger, corporate restructuring, liquidation, bankruptcy or reorganisation.

Fixed income arbitrage: The fixed income arbitrageur aims to profit from price anomalies between related interest rate securities. Most managers trade globally with a goal of generating steady returns with low volatility. This category includes interest rate swap arbitrage, US and non-US government bond arbitrage and forward yield curve arbitrage.

Fund of funds: Fund of Funds are funds that invest in two or more other funds. The objective is to enable the fund and its underlying investors to broadly diversify.

Global macro: Global Macro managers carry long and short positions in any of the world’s major capital or derivative markets. These positions reflect their views on overall market direction as influenced by major economic trends and or events. The portfolios of these funds can include stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities in the form of cash or derivatives instruments. Most funds invest globally in both developed and emerging markets.

Merger arbitrage: Merger Arbitrage funds typically invest simultaneously long and short in the companies involved in a merger or acquisition. Risk arbitrageurs are typically long the stock of the company being acquired and short the stock of the acquirer. By shorting the stock of the acquirer, the manager hedges out market risk, and isolates his exposure to the outcome of the announced deal.

Multi strategy: Multi-Strategy funds are characterised by their ability to dynamically allocate capital among strategies falling within several traditional hedge fund disciplines. The use of many strategies, and the ability to reallocate capital between them in response to market opportunities, means that such funds are not easily assigned to any traditional category.

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