People always complain about the hefty fees hedge fund managers charge investors, but they rarely do anything about it.

Well, now we can.

Did you know that you can use Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosures to monitor the trends of leading hedge funds? The disclosures are called 13F filings, and they’re public information.

The data revealed from these filings can actually provide insight on how the top fund managers are handling the current valuation. Thus you can, to some extent, replicate the portfolios of some of the best managers.

And what a better time than now? This past August was painful. Markets were victims to sharply lower values and higher volatility after a deluge of negative data out of China, Korea, Kazakhstan, and other emerging markets, along with collapsing energy prices.

Use 13F Filings to Your Advantage

The 13F filings are disclosures that the SEC requires from all money managers who have an investment discretion of over $100 million in marketable securities. These filings are required within 45 days of the end of each quarter and reflect the ownership interests that investment managers hold in companies that trade on U.S. exchanges.

The filings disclose hedge fund long positions in U.S. equity markets, American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), both put and call options, as well as convertible notes.

After all, managers are getting 2% or more of their returns in fees. Why pay them when you can do it yourself?

You can search for and retrieve form 13F filings using the SEC’s EDGAR database. Just enter the money manager’s name in the “company name” field and you’ll see all recently filed 13Fs. Next, use the “latest filings” search function and enter “13F” in the “form type” box.

If you want to dig further, you can check out Schedule 13G, which is used to report a party’s ownership of stock that’s over 5% of the company. Ownership of 5% to 20% in a publicly traded stock is considered to be significant, and therefore must be reported to the public. If the size in the stake exceeds 20%, a 13D must be filed.

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