2 and 20 (Hedge Fund Fees) (2024)

2% management fee + 20% performance fee

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The 2 and 20 is a hedge fund compensation structure consisting of a management fee and a performance fee. 2% represents a management fee which is applied to the total assets under management. A 20% performance fee is charged on the profits that the hedge fund generates, beyond a specified minimum threshold.

Again, the 2% fee is charged on the assets under management regardless of the performance of the investments under the fund manager. However, the 20% fee is only charged when the fund achieves a certain level of profit.

The graphic below should make the compensation structure clear.

2 and 20 (Hedge Fund Fees) (1)

How the 2 and 20 Hedge Fund Fee Structure Works

The 2 and 20 fee structure helps hedge funds finance their operations. The 2% flat rate charged on total assets under management (AUM) is used to pay staff salaries, administrative and office expenses, and other operational expenses. The 20% performance fee is used to reward the hedge fund’s key executives and portfolio managers. This bonus structure is what makes hedge fund managers some of the highest paid financial professionals.

How the 20% Performance Fee is Calculated

The 20% performance fee is the biggest source of income for hedge funds. The performance fee is only charged when the fund’s profits exceed a prior agreed-upon level. A common threshold level used is 8%. That means that the hedge fund only charges the 20% performance fee if profits for the year surpass the 8% level.

For example, assume a fund with an 8% threshold level generates a return of 15% for the year. Then the 20% performance fee will be charged on the incremental 7% profit above the 8% threshold. If the hedge fund manages assets of 10 large investors and makes a sizeable profit, its income for the year may run into millions – sometimes billions – of dollars.

Justification of the 2 and 20 Fee Structure

Some investors consider the common 2 and 20 hedge fund fee structure excessively high. Nonetheless, the industry has generally maintained this compensation structure over the years. It is able to do so primarily because hedge funds have consistently been able to generate high returns for their investors. Therefore, clients have been willing to put up with the fees, even if they consider them somewhat exorbitant, in order to obtain very favorable returns on investment. (ROI)

Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund managed by Jim Simmons, maintained an average annual return of 71.8% between 1994 and 2015. Its worst year during the period still showed a 21% profit. Because of the high yields delivered to investors, they were willing to pay performance fees up to 44%.

Criticisms Against the 2 and 20 Fee Structure

Both investors and politicians have put hedge funds under pressure for their 2 and 20 compensation structure in recent years. This is largely due to the fact that, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, hedge funds – like many other investments – have struggled to perform at optimally high levels. As a result, an increasing number of investors have sought out hedge funds that charge fees lower than the traditional 2 and 20.

Politicians have sought a larger cut of hedge fund profits, seeking to have them taxed as ordinary income rather than at the lower capital gains rate. As of 2018, the hedge fund industry has been able to maintain the lower tax rate, arguing that their income is not a fixed salary and is based on performance.

Alternative Hedge Fund Fees Structures

Some of the alternative fee structures adopted by some hedge funds are as follows:

1. Founders Shares

Startup and emerging hedge funds offer incentives to interested investors during the early stages of their business. These incentives are known as “founders shares”. The founders shares entitle investors to a lower fee structure, such as “1.5 and 10” rather than “2 and 20”. Another option is to use the 2 and 20 fee structure but with a promise to reduce the fee when the fund reaches a specific milestone. For example, the fund might charge 2 and 20 on profits up to 20%, but only charge “2 and 15” on profits beyond the 20% level.

3. Discounts for Capital Lockup

A hedge fund may decide to offer a substantial discount to investors who are willing to lock up their investments with the company for a specified time period, such as five, seven, or 10 years. This practice is most common with hedge funds whose investments typically require longer time frames to generate a significant ROI. In exchange for the longer lockup period, clients benefit from a reduced fee structure.

High Watermark Clause

Most hedge funds include a watermark clause that states that a hedge fund manager can only charge performance fees after the fund has generated new profits. If the fund incurs losses, it must recover the losses before charging performance fees.

Additional Resources

Thank you for reading CFI’s guide on 2 and 20 (Hedge Fund Fees). To keep learning and advancing your career, the additional CFI resources below will be useful:

  • Private Equity vs Hedge Fund
  • Hedge Fund Strategies
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
  • Investing: A Beginner’s Guide
  • See all wealth management resources
2 and 20 (Hedge Fund Fees) (2024)


2 and 20 (Hedge Fund Fees)? ›

The 2 and 20 is a hedge fund compensation structure consisting of a management fee and a performance fee

performance fee
A performance fee is a fee that a client account or an investment fund may be charged by the investment manager that manages its assets in addition to its management fee.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Performance_fee
. 2% represents a management fee which is applied to the total assets under management. A 20% performance fee is charged on the profits that the hedge fund generates, beyond a specified minimum threshold.

What is the fund charges 2 and 20? ›

"Two" means 2% of assets under management (AUM), and refers to the annual management fee charged by the hedge fund for managing assets. "Twenty" refers to the standard performance or incentive fee of 20% of profits made by the fund above a certain predefined benchmark.

What is the average hedge fund fees? ›

This is typical for traditional hedge funds, as it is very common to employ a two- and 20-fee structure. Management fees are traditionally two percent of the fund's net asset value, while the performance fee is 20 percent of the fund's profits.

What does 2 20 mean in VC? ›

Haje Jan Kamps@Haje / 8:10 AM PDT•September 27, 2023. Image Credits: PM Images (opens in a new window) / Getty Images. VCs often use the shorthand phrase “two and twenty” to refer to the 2% of annual management fees a venture fund might take and the 20% carried interest (or “performance fee”) it would charge.

What is the commission for a hedge fund? ›

Hedge funds typically charge an annual asset management fee of 1 percent to 2 percent of assets as well as a “performance fee” of 20 percent of a hedge fund's profit. These fees are typically higher than the fees charged by a mutual fund.

Which hedge fund has no management fee? ›

Parplus Partners, which runs a volatility strategy designed to protect investors in down markets, will never charge a management fee, its founder insists. Instead, the hedge fund, the Parplus Equity Fund, only gets paid a performance fee when it beats the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index.

What is considered a high fund fee? ›

A good expense ratio, from the investor's viewpoint, is around 0.5% to 0.75% for an actively managed portfolio. An expense ratio greater than 1.5% is considered high.

What is the 2 20 rule for hedge funds? ›

The 2 and 20 is a hedge fund compensation structure consisting of a management fee and a performance fee. 2% represents a management fee which is applied to the total assets under management. A 20% performance fee is charged on the profits that the hedge fund generates, beyond a specified minimum threshold.

What is the 2 20 rule in private equity? ›

This is also known as the “2 and 20” fee structure and it's a common fee arrangement in private equity funds. It means that the GP's management fee is 2% of the investment and the incentive fee is 20% of the profits. Both components of the GPs fees are clearly detailed in the partnership's investment agreement.

What are the most common hedge fund fees? ›

The fee is typically 2% of a fund's net asset value (NAV) over a 12-month period. A performance fee: also known as an incentive fee, this second fee is viewed as a reward for positive returns. Performance fees are typically set at 20% of the fund's profits.

What is the Citadel management fee? ›

Fees Under Citadel Advisors

Citadel charges a management fee to each of the funds under its control. This fee is equal to 1% of the fund's net asset value. Aside from this, there is no general fee schedule for investors in the funds at Citadel. The firm does, however, charge performance-based fees on occasion.

What is the profit margin for a hedge fund? ›

According to our analysis, assuming a gross return of 5%, large and mid-sized hedge funds have an operating margin of 25-50% in each of the four fee scenarios analysed. These margins are very healthy, and comparable to large asset management firms that have historically had operating margins between 25-35%.

Do hedge funds beat the market? ›

If your market outlook is bullish, you will need a specific reason to expect a hedge fund to beat the index. Conversely, if your outlook is bearish, hedge funds should be an attractive asset class compared to buy-and-hold or long-only mutual funds.

Is BlackRock a hedge fund? ›

BlackRock manages US$38bn across a broad range of hedge fund strategies. With over 20 years of proven experience, the depth and breadth of our platform has evolved into a comprehensive toolkit of 30+ strategies.

What is the minimum salary for a hedge fund? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $248,000 and as low as $33,500, the majority of Hedge Fund salaries currently range between $68,000 (25th percentile) to $119,500 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $168,500 annually across the United States.

What is a 1 or 30 hedge fund fee? ›

In a way, the 1-or-30 is an insurance policy. The premium is paying extra fees when the manager truly outperforms. But that is the only condition under which the investor pays more. The protection the investor buys is avoiding the risk of overpaying for underperformance.

What does 2 and 20 mean in private equity? ›

At its most basic, the two and twenty is basically the standard fee structure for venture capital firms to charge their investors. The 2% is the annual fee that the fund charges investors to manage the fund. And the 20% is the percentage of the upside that the fund managers take.

What is a fund charge? ›

Sometimes called the 'entry charge', this is an upfront charge paid when you invest money in a fund and is deducted from your investment before you invest. This covers the costs of setting up your investment, such as administration and marketing costs.

What is $20 broker fee charged against the mutual fund? ›

A broker charges an average of $20 to "maintain" each mutual fund in your account. This fee is paid annually by a mutual fund to your broker. If you hold four mutual funds, your broker is being paid $80 a year. Revenue-sharing fee.

What is a fund transaction fee? ›

Transaction fee (TF) funds: A transaction fee is similar to a brokerage fee or commission which you pay when you buy or sell a stock. For some funds available through Fidelity, you are required to pay a transaction fee. These are called TF funds.


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