Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Swimming with Sharks: Last year, a German politician famously compared hedge funds to "locusts," but a thoughtful analysis in this morning's Financial Times says they're more like sharks: "While misunderstood and feared, sharks are a vital part of the ecosystem. In recent years, however, depletion of tuna and other traditional food sources has forced them to go after alternatives, in a move known as 'prey switching.' With a little modification, this description fits hedge funds, especially those in the U.S. [where].... returns in equities and fixed income are dwindling. Under these circumstances, hedge funds are forced to switch to Europe and Asia as they continue to gather assets."

The article contains some sound advice for corporate and financial communications professionals dealing with hedge funds: "Actively engaging investors is the prudent first course. After all, every company claims to consider its shareholders 'part owners' in the company; hedge fund investors are simply behaving as if that were the case."

And: "In order to live successfully with this new breed of sharks, executives must learn to use all the weapons that the hedge fund activists employ, including influencing current shareholders and mastering media relations."

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