Despite the steep losses that hedge funds suffered in 2008 despite their supposed absolute returns, many wealthy investors continue to invest in them, but with strings attached, executives said at the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Boston this week.

“We see continued dedication to hedge funds,” Catherine Keating, chief executive of JP Morgan Chase’s private bank, told Reuters. “The things our clients are focused on are how does that hedge fund generate its returns? How much is correlated o the market? Clients care about transparency—what fees are they getting charged? They don’t mind paying fees as long as they’re getting value.”

Moffett Cochran, CEO of Silvercrest Asset Management, added, “The events of last year may have forever changed attitudes toward investing. It may be that their allocations to growth and equities will be lower. The vast majority of hedge funds had negative returns. The whole concept of absolute returns embedded in the hedge fund rationale was thrown out of the window.”

While the trauma that most investors seemed to feel through the middle of this year has abated, they are far more cautious than ever before, particularly with respect to market volatility, liquidity and overall risk, speakers said.

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