A private, largely unregulated, aggressively managed investment vehicle that seeks to maximize investors’ returns. Hedge funds use strategies such as leverage, arbitrage, derivatives, buying long and selling short to reach that goal. Investors, limited by law to no more than 100, put in large amounts of money but usually are allowed to make withdrawals only at specified times. Regulations limit who can join a hedge fund; typically, investors are institutions like pension funds or university endowments and very wealthy individuals. Hedge funds are exempt from many of the regulations governing mutual funds. The first hedge funds tried to minimize risks, but today’s funds are actually more speculative and risky than the market as a whole.