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Check This Out: Investors Snoop On Hedge Funds

Maybe unbeknown to hedge funds is the growing trend of potential investors checking out managers and firms before checking in with their money.

Maybe unbeknown to hedge funds is the growing trend of potential investors checking out managers and firms before checking in with their money. In fact, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, business is booming in the new industry that makes its money by investigating hedge funds first. "The

market runs on fear and greed and we're kind of operating on the fear side," says Guy Simonian, the Cotal Systems, in an interview with the paper. "We're trying to alleviate the fear for our clients." Cotal Systems formed one of these investigative firms, CheckFundManager.com, after a client that had hired

Cotal to do employee background checks wanted the Connecticut-based company to look into 500 hedge funds. Cotal's venture is far from alone in the field, which is populated by the familiar Kroll and the less familiar Intelysis, edgeCheck.com and First Advantage Investigative Services. The HF private eyes, as they were, focus on assorted and potentially sordid information about the hedge funds and the people who manage and work for them Ð stuff that is no more than a mouse click away via online access to databases covering corporate, court, property and some newsworthy and perhaps damning tidbits. A basic search by HedgeCheck costs $250, while something more elaborate by CheckFundManager can run a client $2,000 or more in a process that can take from days to weeks. The good news is, according to Ben Schmich of First Advantage, is despite the high-profile disasters like Bayou Management, hedge fund managers come out cleaner than some other objects of investigations, venture capitalists.

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