Merrill Putting Registered Hedge Fund in the Market

December 22, 2004 ( - Merrill Lynch is launching its first registered hedge-fund product amid growing interest in alternative investments among institutional investors.

The company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that its Multi-Strategy Hedge Opportunities Fund will invest in a range of different single-manager hedge funds and has an investment minimum of $25,000, CBS MarketWatch reported.

With the latest announcement, Merrill joins other financial services firms including Bank of New York, Deutsche Bank, Man Group, and Rydex in offering registered hedge fund products.

Registering hedge funds makes them available to a broader audience. According to the CBS MarketWatch report, Merrill’s SEC filing said employee benefits plans and individual retirement accounts are eligible to invest in the new offering. Despite the low minimum investment, Merrill said it’s only offering the fund to accredited investors, with annual income of at least $200,000 or more than $1 million in assets.

The offering is expected to close on January 3, according to Merrill.