As Fortress Investment Group went public on the New York Stock Exchange last week, it became apparent that hedge funds are seeking a wider base of investors than just the high-net-worth, The Wall Street Journal reports. Certainly, one of the reasons for their doing so is the proposed Securities and Exchange Commission rule that would increase the minimum investable assets of hedge fund investors from $1 million to $2.5 million.

Even mainstream mutual fund companies are getting into the business. Janus and Old Mutual Asset Management recently announced, for instance, that they will offer hedge fund-like mutual funds. At the end of 2006, hedge-like mutual funds had $16.5 billion in assets, up 58% from a year earlier, according to Financial Research Corp.

Some advisers warn that such funds charge high fees and don’t have long-term track records, while others recommend that their clients place up to 20% of their portfolios in alternative investments.

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