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Aima publishes educational guide to offset "hedge fund bashing"

The Alternative Investment Management Association has published the Roadmap to Hedge Funds, which it says is the world's first collaborative educational guide for institutional hedge fund investors.

Written by Alexander Ineichen (photo), senior investment officer for alternative investment solutions at UBS Global Asset Management, and Kurt Silberstein, portfolio manager for absolute return strategies at the California Public Employees' Retirement Systems, on behalf of Aima's Investor Steering Committee, the publication was developed in association with the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association.

The Roadmap to Hedge Funds, which is aimed at intermediate level investors, has been launched at a point in the industry's development where, Aima says, the quantity of commentary on hedge funds is not necessarily supported by the required level of knowledge.

It aims to demystify the hedge fund industry and tackle misconceptions on issues such as short selling, fees, transparency and the notion that hedge funds are risky, speculative and increase systemic risk.

The publication also offers guidance on creating and managing a hedge fund portfolio and offers an in-depth view of hedge fund strategies in investment, valuation, leverage, liquidity and risk management.

'Institutional investors now account for a significant and growing percentage of investment in the hedge fund industry,' Ineichen says. 'While diversified hedge fund portfolios have comfortably outperformed most balanced long-only equity-bond portfolios over this decade so far, the perception of investing in hedge funds is often still negative. The Roadmap is being launched at a point in the industry's development where the quantity of hedge fund bashing is plentiful while the dissemination of high-quality hedge fund research is not.'

Aima director Emma Mugridge says: 'Aima always strives to work as closely as possible with the investor community to promote greater understanding of hedge funds. In the current climate, where hedge funds are suffering ill-informed criticism, it is even more important that we continue to demonstrate this work and educate people.

'We - Aima and the hedge fund industry - have always believed in the need for positive, proactive initiatives, and the Roadmap demonstrates this commitment to increasing transparency on the industry's role and activities.'

Aima has more than 1,280 corporate members in 47 countries including hedge fund managers, fund of hedge funds managers, prime brokers, providers of legal and accounting services and fund administrators.

Aima's investor steering committee was formed in July 2007 to provide strategic and practical guidance on how best to support the educational and information needs of the institutional investor community.

Apart from Ineichen and Silberstein, its members are Paul Spijkers, chief executive of ABP Investments US, Eric Breval, managing director of Fonds de Compensation AVS, Mark Taborsky, a vice-president at Harvard Management Company, François-Serge Lhabitant, chief investment officer of Kedge Capital, Vera Kupper Staub, chief investment officer of Pensionskasse Stadt Zürich, Gumersindo Oliveros, director of pension plan and endowments for the World Bank Pension Plan, and John Stevens, managing director of General Motors Asset Management.

Along with the Center for International Securities and Derivatives Markets, Aima was a co-founder in 2002 of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association, an independent, not-for-profit global organisation committed to education and professionalism in the field of alternative investments.

The association is the sponsoring body for the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation, the industry's only specialised educational standard for alternative investment specialists, which certifies mastery of the concepts, tools and practices essential for understanding alternative investments and promotes adherence to high standards of professional conduct.

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