Hedge funds are a force for good but mum and dad investors should steer well clear. That is the view of one of the word's academic experts on hedge funds, NYU Stern School of Business Professor Stephen Brown.

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By Cliff Stanton

Advisors have expressed frustration with funds in this category. Is that warranted?

In recent years, mainstream investors have increasingly embraced long-short equity mutual funds. Fund launches only began to accelerate in the aftermath of the financial crisis, so investors’ collective experience with these funds has been largely acquired during an equities bull market.

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​​​​​​​​In our ever competitive landscape, smaller and mid-sized companies are often seeking the shortest route, not always the smartest, in their growth strategies. Understanding operating risk of a company or transaction requires more than a cursory review of the company standardized reports. A process of critical and detailed analysis is essential to monitoring the growth of rapidly expanding companies or portfolios.   Why can't you simply rely on standardized reports? For starters, too seldom are standardized reports verified for accuracy, content or origin. I can't tell you how many times we have been provided standardized reports during due diligence, after a quick review we begin asking questions about the origin of the reports and its representations only to find no one in management can tell us why the reports are being used or oftentimes what the data fields represent. This is more common than not.

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