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Hedgeweek Comment: The eternal transparency debate

Are investors happy with all aspects of the current regulatory arrangements for the alternative investment industry? As usual, some are and some are not. Hedge funds, which have a reputation for being secretive, have been called upon to increase transparency. But how much information do hedge funds divulge by comparison with other types of alternative investment?

Apparently, they report more frequently than any of the other funds in the category, according to an extensive survey of hedge funds, private equity, real estate, infrastructure and commodity funds released last month by PricewaterhouseCoopers, entitled Transparency versus Returns: the Institutional Investor View of Alternative Assets.

The report indicates that more hedge fund managers report to clients daily, weekly or monthly than managers in almost any other alternative investment category. For example, 85 per cent of hedge fund managers surveyed by PwC said they reported to investors at least monthly, compared with 43 per cent for private equity funds, 42 per cent for real estate funds, 36 per cent for infrastructure funds and 64 per cent for commodity funds.

So why are hedge funds being hounded when, in fact, they report more frequently than their alternative investment peers? The answer perhaps lies in the attitudes of investors and other observers, and how the media can influence people's opinions.

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