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The Alpha Masters: Unlocking the Genius of the World's Top Hedge Funds by Mohamed El-Erian, Myron Scholes, Maneet Ahuja

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Foreword

The Less Mysterious World of Hedge Funds

Mohamed A. El-Erian

CEO and Co-CIO of PIMCO

The mystique of hedge funds is undeniable.

In the investment management world, hedge funds are often referred to as “smart money.” They command premium fees and are thought to attract the best and brightest talent. Beyond this world, they are known for having minted several billionaires and hundreds, if not thousands, of millionaires. And they are an increasingly attractive topic for writers of both fiction and nonfiction.

As much as they are admired, hedge fund managers are also feared and, in some quarters, even loathed. Some see them as investment cowboys who, in ruthless pursuit of profits, pose significant risks to the stability of the global financial systems. No wonder hedge funds have attracted the attention of regulators and, in cases of countries in severe crises (be it Asia in the late 1990s or Europe today) that of politicians pointing an accusatory finger claiming that they are sources of disruptive evil and illicit earnings at the expense of entire nations.

Whether you like them or hate them, there is little denying that the hedge fund industry is here today because of their early well-earned reputation of savvy, agility, and investment coups. In recent years, however, the standing of hedge funds has come under pressure as their numbers have mushroomed, average investment returns have generally disappointed, and the investment landscape has become more complex and harder ...

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