The standard New York Times worldview is that ordinary investors need more government regulation to protect them from the sophisticates in the financial industry. So it's refreshing to see an article today arguing that "Perhaps hedge funds need to be deregulated, breaking down the wall that restricts hedge fund investing only to the wealthy." The article is a bit vague on whether the funds would be required to accept investments of any size from any investor who comes along (which actually might be a regulation, not a de-regulation) or just allowed to accept such investments (which would be a genuine de-regulation). It also seems that the author wants to use the small investors who he wants to allow into hedge funds as investors as levers to justify subjecting the funds to more regulation, such as requiring the funds to disclose all of their holdings. Those issues notwithstanding, it's an intriguing argument, and good to see it in the Times. Particularly intriguing is the writer's point about how markets are moving faster than regulators by offering small investors the chance to participate in hedge-fund-like strategies through exchange-traded funds and through owning stock in publicly listed hedge fund firms: "The S.E.C. has tried again and again to restrict public investment in hedge funds, but the problem is that the markets are moving too fast. The financial revolution and demands of investors mean that hedge fund-like products that are being marketed to the general public are being created, legally."
Hedge Funds for Everyone