Commissioner Fred Hatfield
Hedge Fund Roundtable
April 6, 2005
I want to thank our Acting Chairman for holding this important roundtable and to thank our guests for being here today. The timing of this discussion is propitious. With the stock markets struggling and the demand for commodities continuing to rise to meet global expansion, especially in China, the growth and influence of managed funds in the commodity markets and our economy generally, is one of the hottest topics in financial news.
As the number of these funds multiply, so naturally do the number of investors, but perhaps more importantly, the profile and expectations of the hedge fund investor are changing as well. A Morgan Stanley study revealed on Monday, for example, that the largest inflows to the funds were no longer wealthy individuals, but institutions such as pension funds.
Warren Buffet has referred to financial derivatives as financial weapons of mass destruction and the New York Times recently quoted a five billion dollar hedge fund owner as saying, “it is completely obvious that this will end badly for the firms, investors, everyone.”
Yet Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, often says hedging through the use of derivatives has benefited the economy by spreading the risk among a greater number of institutions. And he has usually been proven prescient. Perhaps this is a conundrum!
Today, we are lucky to have some of the brightest and most successful people involved in the managed funds industry to address a number of these issues, including the growth of the industry, and I am looking forward to hearing each of your thoughts as we go forward. Thank you Madam Chairman.