Low-Cost Mutual Fund Giant Thinking Hedge Fund

Dec 7 2007 | 12:24pm ET

The Vanguard Group, the mutual fund giant best-known as a proponent of low-cost, index-based investing, may be getting into the hedge fund business—the opposite of low-cost, index-based investing.

In a filing about its planned Managed Payout funds of funds, Vanguard mentions a “prospective absolute return fund” for the Managed Payout products to invest in, mutual fund watchdog Morningstar reports. The proposed “private investment fund” would not be set up as a mutual fund, and would utilize multiple strategies—including relative value and arbitrage—and multiple asset classes, as well as such un-mutual fund tactics as short sales and leverage.

The filing makes clear that Malvern, Pa.-based Vanguard, which manages more than $1 trillion—more than $100 billion of which is in one fund tracking the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index—has not definitively decided to create a hedge fund.

Should it, however, the Vanguard hedge fund would be used to further the goals of the three Managed Payout funds, which are designed to both increase investor capital as well as pay monthly distributions.

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