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Advice For Pensions Funds: Go Slow

Time is not of the essence when it comes to investing in hedge funds.

Time is not of the essence when it comes to investing in hedge funds, says Greenwich Associates. In a report that notes the relatively minuscule contributions of pension funds to the industry compared with that of endowments, the Connecticut firm offers pensions some advice on how to play in hedges. First, “gradually build up allocations – and expertise.” Then, “start with funds of funds.” And finally, “as allocations reach significant levels, diversify your holdings and eliminate fees by shifting to direct investments in single-manager funds. As for those paltry percentages pension plans put aside now – less than 1%, according to the firm – Greenwich consultant John Webster “question[s] whether small investments in hedge funds are worthwhile over the long term.” Citing the “significant time and resource requirements” associated with HF due diligence, he sternly suggests, “If you are a pension plan sponsor investing in hedge funds, you should be looking to gradually build your allocations to a level of 5% of total assets or higher.” Or, he adds, “put your money and your time to work elsewhere.”

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