A successful hedge fund operation has many elements which all intermingle to form an optimal wealth accumulation and growth mechanism. When people see portrayals of hedge funds on TV and in the movies, all they really see are the guys wearing suspenders, imitating Gordon Gekko and lighting cigars with $100 bills in their spare time. But, there is a whole other side to the business, and that is hedge fund admin.
There is an incredibly large amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of a hedge fund that has nothing to do with stock charts, trading accounts or any of the other financial wizardry that happens on Wall Street. Many people forget that one of the major components that a successful hedge fund needs is money, and this money comes from accredited individuals and institutional investors. Who do you think handles all of these transactions? While a hedge fund manager will play a role in these meetings, truth be told, the high strung, intense kinds of personalities that thrive in the fast paced world of hedge fund investing are not really "adept" in the art of customer service. A high quality hedge fund admin will help make sure everything runs smoothly in this department.
People on the hedge fund admin side of the business also take care of things pertaining to paperwork, accounting and anything else that doesn't have to do specifically with making trades or making money. Sending out client reports, handling inquiries from the SEC and other tasks like this are all routine for a hedge fund admin. The way this is described may sound boring to some, but this is not the case - hedge fund admin is one of the most intense, pressure packed jobs on Wall Street outside of being a hedge fund manager.
Sometimes, hedge fund admin is handled by a totally different company that has no legal connection to the hedge fund in question. This is a lot more common with smaller, start up hedge funds that don't have all the resources required to have an in house admin team. But, as the amount of assets under management grows and a hedge fund secures more clients, they usually move hedge fund admin responsibilities in-house.
Hedge fund admin and hedge fund management are two very different areas that perform two very different tasks, but they are both quintessential elements of a successful hedge fund operation. If you are interested in starting a career in the hedge fund industry, but can't seem to earn higher returns than your friend who picks stocks by using his Ouihja board and the financial section of the Wall Street Journal - you still have the option to work in hedge fund admin. You will be right in the action working with some of the top fund managers in the world, you will still be able to make a reasonable income (in hedge fund terms) and you won't have to stare at stock charts all day.