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What is a Feeder Fund?

By Sandy Baker
Updated Jan 24, 2024
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A feeder fund conducts most or all of its investing through the master fund. Feeder funds are commonly in use in hedge fund investing. It is a commonly used method of transferring investor funds from one account to another. These funds help route assets from several investors into one central fund.

Both foreign and domestic investors can use feeder funds to invest in the same hedge fund. When set up, the funds pool together into the master fund. While this process may seem complex, it is one of the most convenient and tax-efficient methods available for multiple investors.

As an example, a United States investor may invest into one feeder fund in the US. At the same time, a United Kingdom investor might invest into an offshore feeder fund. Both of these funds could share the same master fund. In most situations, the master fund, which is sometimes referred to as a central fund, is located offshore. In this arrangement, the master fund manager is responsible for investing and managing all funds in the underlying investments.

Setting up a feeder fund is not difficult. An investment manager from the offshore company will set up the master fund, which can then accept funds from feeder funds. Hedge fund managers set those up. In the United States, they are often set up as a limited partnership.

The benefits of using a feeder fund-master fund structure can be dependent on the situation. One of the biggest benefits is that this structure allows for a more efficient method of investing. With this structure, country-specific regulations can be adhered to, while still making asset raising a simple process. If this process was not in place, the method of moving funds from investors to the hedge fund would be quite complex, especially when multiple national investors are present.

For United States taxable investors, ownership into a Passive Foreign Investment Company, or PFIC, can be very expensive. Offshore feeder funds are usually a PFIC, but the master fund is not. This allows the transaction to be organized so that the master fund is labeled a partnership under US tax requirements. This helps to protect the investor from the PFIC feeder expenses.

Feeder funds are common with hedge funds and similar investment styles. They can be confusing to a new investor. In some situations, they can be troublesome if full disclosure does not occur. It's always a good idea to talk to an investment professional before investing.

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Discussion Comments
By bluespirit — On Aug 19, 2011

@Tomislav - My best guess would be to look at financial institutions that specialize in feeder funds or hedge funds since they seem to go hand in hand.

And yes there was a Madoff feeder fund so I think that goes without saying that you should research the company well (but then again I would think that those who had invested millions with Madoff researched his company as well... which may just scare me enough away from the feeder fund idea completely).

So research and invest accordingly! But as for me I may need to come down from my feeder fund/stock market paranoia before I go even learn more about my options!

By Tomislav — On Aug 19, 2011

Wow as a beginner investor I thought I would follow what this was a little more. But I am still confused, so I appreciate the last line about discussing with a professional before investing.

What type of professional is known for this type of fund, or whom should I talk to about this fund? Is there a minimum due in a feeder fund and if so what could possibly be the lowest minimum to get into a feeder fund?

And finally - Did the infamous Bernie Madoff have a Madoff feeder fund?

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