Evolution of Hedge Funds:
The establishment of the first Hedge Fund in the United States in the year 1949 by Alfred W. Jones marked the evolution of Hedge Fund industry. It was setup as a general partnership to avoid regulatory tussle from the SEC and later converted into limited partnership. Jones strategy consisted of long and short strategy in order to Hedge market risk, such that it facilitated taking a long position in the undervalued stocks and a short position in the overvalued stocks. Thereby, Jones shifted most of his exposure from market timing to stock picking. In 1966, an article published in the fortune magazine showed the retunes generated by Jones' fund which shocked the whole investment community. The fund significantly outperformed other traditional investment vehicles after paying performance related incentive fee. During the 10-year period from 1955-1965, Jones' Fund returned 670 percent compared to the Dreyfus Fund, which only returned 358 percent and other top mutual Funds. This led to a rush for setting up a large number of Hedge Funds.
Since then, the Hedge Fund industry has gone through many periods of rapid growth (1966-68, late 1980s, and early 1990s) and contraction (1969-70 and 1973-74). Most of the early Hedge Funds perished in the stock market crash of 1969 and early 1970s due to heavy losses as they followed only long strategy in the ageing bull market. Industry slowly recovered from the crash and the popularity of Hedge Funds came into limelight. A review article that published in Institutional Investor listed out impressive returns given by the Julian Robertson's Tiger Fund against Standard and Poor's (S&P) 500. Her investment approach was purely consisted of market directional bets with no hedging policy. The Fund had delivered a compounded return of 43 percent in the first six years of inception compared to the S & P 500's 18.7 percent compounded return for the same period.