How to set up a hedge fund

1 Chose a name

A posh part of London or New York can be suitable, as in Pershing Square Capital, Cheyne Capital and Thames River Capital.

Or you could choose something slightly aggressive such as Tiger Capital, Citadel Capital or Centaurus. Among the big financial firms, it is voguish to squeeze as many meaningless words as possible into the title of a hedge fund. Length is not a sign of quality, however; a Bear Stearns hedge fund which went from $642m to zero was called the "high-grade structured credit strategies enhanced leverage fund".

2 Get a brass plaque in the Cayman Islands

Nearly all hedge funds are legally registered in tax havens to avoid both the taxman and to skirt regulatory hurdles – the sunny climes of the Caymans and Bermuda are particularly popular. Theoretically, a fund registered in London would have to register with the Financial Services Authority, but this has never actually happened. An FSA spokeswoman says: "Nobody ever registers hedge funds in the UK. If somebody did, we’d be scratching our heads over how to deal with it. We’d have to devise something."

3 Set your fees

The real fun starts here. Hedge funds are enormously lucrative – their standard fee arrangement is "two and 20". This means that as a fund manager, you can take 2% of clients’ money up front before you do anything, then keep 20% of any appreciation on the value of your fund. For successful hedgies, that means a phenomenal payday. For example, if a fund raises $1bn from investors and achieves a 30% rise in value over a year, the fund’s management earns $78.8m. Crispin Odey – one of London’s leading hedge fund managers – has just paid himself £28m after his firm successfully negotiated the credit crunch to make more than £55m profit in the past financial year. Most of the remaining £27m will be shared among Odey Asset Management’s 11 other partners. The fund manages around £2.7bn of assets.

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