NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- From 1998 through 2008, there was a bull market in hedge funds.Institutions and wealthy individuals invested hundreds of billions of dollars and, with benchmark-beating returns, hedge funds demanded high fees and dictated tough terms. Many refused to disclose holdings and required investors to lock in money for a year or longer. The mood has changed. Scrambling to attract investors, many funds are lowering fees and offering easier terms. "The top 10% of funds can still get whatever they want, but most of the rest are willing to negotiate concessions," says Jon Sundt, president of Altegris, a hedge fund adviser. Investors are demanding detailed lists of portfolio holdings, a big change from when many hedge funds provided only vague descriptions of their holdings in reports that came out monthly or quarterly. As long as returns remained healthy, investors asked few questions. When markets collapsed in 2008, funds suffered big losses, and investors did not know exactly what went wrong. "The strategy was to trust the managers and hope for the best," says Ken Phillips, CEO of HedgeMark, a consultant. Phillips says some of his institutional clients now get daily information about every stock in portfolios. "On Tuesday morning, they know what was in the portfolio at the close of business on Monday," he says. "That kind of complete disclosure was very rare before 2008." Clients are also seeking shorter lockup periods, and many institutions are obtaining the right to make weekly or monthly redemptions. The ability to make withdrawals is considered particularly important because some hedge funds slammed their gates during the turmoil of 2008, preventing investors from getting cash.
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