Far from the Madoff crowd


By Neil Wilson

The brouhaha surrounding the huge fraud perpetrated by Bernie Madoff could hardly have come at a worse time for hedge funds. Performance in general was deeply disappointing in 2008. Even if the industry did, on average, beat returns in most asset classes, the fact is that a significant majority of hedge funds were negative on the year. And with an increasing number imposing "gate" provisions or suspending redemptions, all too many managers have also gotten themselves into highly fractious relationships either with their investors or with their prime brokers, or both.

Two key questions will dominate the