During a family vacation, my son, who is a hedge-fund VP, joined me for a workout at the YMCA. When he showed up wearing his company's intramural shirt, I couldn't help but laugh out loud. The hedge fund's team is named "The Fighting Betas." 

I suppose I was the only one in the room who understood the double entendre, but truly, doesn't that team name perfectly describe the team members' job? They try to secure a return on assets that avoids correlating to a particular index or market, the so-called "beta." If the hedge fund's return doesn't correlate with the targeted index, they have effectively removed some of the risk of being invested in such assets.

It's somewhat like buying gold — or options in gold — during times you're afraid your stocks may sink in value. Typically, with a hedging strategy, you pay money to a third party to lay off some or all the risk of a particular investment strategy.

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