Hedge Funds Expected to Add CPAs

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Hedge funds in New York and New Jersey need CPAs who can handle risk management. Even in the midst of the credit crunch - and maybe because of it - funds will bring on board more accountants as they mature and receive more scrutiny.

From consulting to permanent placements, accountants are finding opportunities at hedge funds in Manhattan, Long Island, and Northern New Jersey. But what background is needed, and where does a CPA garner any specialized skills the funds may want? Having worked with a hedge fund or in private equity is a plus, as is an intimate knowledge of the workings of international and domestic funds.

Short of direct hedge fund expertise, CPAs with Big Four experience might have a leg up if they've worked with financial clients or in business valuation. However, the most qualified accountants are those who've worked on the client side at some point, believes Mitchell Feldman, president of New York-based executive search firm A.E. Feldman. "You can get the experience by working for an investment bank or anywhere where you are on the transactions side," he notes.

The tremendous sector growth in 2007 and the recent credit crisis are necessitating better risk management. Hennessee Group LLC, an adviser to hedge fund investors, estimates that the industry's assets increased by $462 billion in 2007, to $1.997 trillion. The increase represented 30 percent growth since the beginning of 2007.

While the credit crisis and rumors of layoffs at some area funds are causing some worry, the need for CPAs is expected to remain. As the space matures and institutional money flows more consistently into funds, both investors and regulators are expected to call for increased oversight and supervision, which will mean additional opportunities for accountants.

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