Management fees are calculated as a percentage of the fund’s net asset value and typically range from 1% to 4% per annum, with 2% being standard. They are usually expressed as an annual percentage, but calculated and paid monthly or quarterly. Management fees for hedge funds are designed to cover the operating costs of the manager, whereas the performance fee provides the manager’s profits. However, due to economies of scale the management fee from larger funds can generate a significant part of a manager’s profits, and as a result some fees have been criticized by some public pension funds, such as CalPERS, for being too high.
The Performance fee is typically 20% of the fund’s profits during any year, though they range between 10% and 50%. Performance fees are intended to provide an incentive for a manager to generate profits. Performance fees have been criticized by Warren Buffett, who believes that because hedge funds share only the profits and not the losses, such fees create an incentive for high-risk investment management. Performance fee rates have fallen since the start of the credit crunch.
Almost all hedge fund performance fees include a “high water mark” (or “loss carryforward provision”), which means that the performance fee only applies to net profits (i.e. profits after losses in previous years have been recovered). This prevents managers from receiving fees for volatile performance, though a manager will sometimes close a fund that has suffered serious losses and start a new fund, rather than attempting to recover the losses over a number of years without performance fee.
Some performance fees include a “hurdle”, so that a fee is only paid on the fund’s performance in excess of a benchmark rate (e.g. LIBOR) or a fixed percentage. A “soft” hurdle means the performance fee is calculated on all the fund’s returns if the hurdle rate is cleared. A “hard” hurdle is calculated only on returns above the hurdle rate. A hurdle is intended to ensure that a manager is only rewarded if it generates returns in excess of the returns that the investor would have received if it had invested its money elsewhere.
Some hedge funds charge a redemption fee (or withdrawal fee) for early withdrawals during a specified period of time (typically a year) or when withdrawals exceed a predetermined percentage of the original investment. The purpose of the fee is to discourage short-term investing, reduce turnover and deter withdrawals after periods of poor performance. Redemption fees usually remain in the fund and benefit the remaining investors
Source: From Wikipedia