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Hedge funds are made available only to certain sophisticated or accredited investors and cannot be offered or sold to the general public. As such, they generally avoid direct regulatory oversight, bypass licensing requirements applicable to investment companies, and operate with greater flexibility than mutual funds and other investment funds. Even big financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies invest a small percentage of their capital in hedge funds for diversification, returns and risk-aversion.
While hedge funds have existed for many decades, they have become increasingly popular in recent years, growing to be one of the world's major investment vehicles and sources of capital appreciation, especially as a hedging tool in a volatile and turbulent market.
As of end of 2015, there are about 10,000 Hedge Funds in the world with a total asset value of at least $3 Trillion Dollars.