The Conversation – In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, much ill-feeling remains towards Wall Street, the investment banks and those individuals who profit from short-term movements in the financial markets. As the crisis has dragged on, more questions are being raised about how the modern financial system actually works. Identifying “who does what” when it comes to complex derivative securities or the take-over of well-established, brand-name companies by faceless financiers seems much more difficult today than a generation ago.
Over the last decade, hedge funds and private equity funds have entered the mainstream public consciousness after many years of profitably operating in the arcane shadows of the economy. Although originally developed in the United States, these funds quickly expanded across the Atlantic to establish a base of operation in London. As they become more and more successful, their techniques, tools and structures rapidly spread to financial centres around the world, including Australia.