Vulture Fund

A vulture fund is a fund that buys securities in distressed investments, such as high-yield bonds in or near default or equities in or near bankruptcy.
Vulture Fund
3 min

Vulture fund is the fund that searches for and acquires securities in troubled investments, such as high-yield bonds that are in default or about to default or stocks that are about to file for bankruptcy. The idea is to 'swoop in' and make high-risk, possibly high-reward plays by purchasing discounted shares that are thought to have been oversold. If you are wondering what the meaning of vulture funds is, this article describes vulture funds completely.

What is a vulture fund?

In addition to placing large bets on high-yield investments and distressed debt, vulture funds use legal action as part of their management tactics to win contractual payouts. Hedge funds often oversee these funds, employing a variety of different tactics to maximise returns for their owners.

Due to the substantial default risks, portfolio managers look for deeply discounted investments with high prospective rates of return in order to implement the strategy. Set income securities, such as high yield bonds and loans with set or variable interest rates, are typically the focus of investments. Investments are frequently made in the government debt of financially troubled nations, necessitating even more lobbying to settle outstanding payments.

The methods and procedures that vulture funds go through in order to get paid for the assets they have invested in are highlighted by a number of legacy cases involving hedge funds and sovereign debt. Vulture funds aggressively pursue profits from distressed debts, contrasting sharply with the steady, long-term growth aimed at SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) and lumpsum investment in more stable financial markets.

Understanding vulture funds with examples

Investment funds known as "vulture funds" are defined as those that focus on purchasing distressed instruments, including bonds, at a steep discount from businesses or nations that are experiencing financial difficulties and are about to file for bankruptcy. They plan to benefit from the enforcement of repayment or the modification of conditions to their advantage after obtaining these assets, frequently by filing lawsuits when necessary. Should the debtor be successful in settling or restructuring its liabilities, this approach might provide substantial profits. But the way vulture funds work is problematic because it increases the financial strain on governments and organisations that are already in precarious situations and may find it difficult to recover.

Argentina’s debt crisis

Argentina agreed to return six vulture funds that had invested in the country's debt after 15 years of discussions, which concluded in February 2016. Elliott Management's NML Capital branch and Aurelius Capital Management were two of the leading hedge funds engaged. The bondholders' final loan repayment was negotiated to be $6.5 billion.

Puerto Rico’s debt crisis

A similar situation arose in Puerto Rico, which had significant budgetary crises in 2006-2007 and again from 2013-2016, when the US territory declared bankruptcy. The government owes up to $120 billion in bond and pension debt to its creditors, which included US mutual firms and hedge fund managers. Leading fund managers seeking restitution were Oppenheimer, Franklin, and Aurelius Capital Management.

As a result, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) was passed in 2016 to reorganise the territory's obligations and budget. The majority of Puerto Rico's obligations accrued in the 2010s are undergoing one of the largest public debt restructurings in US history, with vulture investors playing a significant role.

Vulture fund Investments

While Argentina and Puerto Rico are extreme situations, they highlight some of the investments made by vulture funds that resulted in significant returns. In addition to sovereign debt, vulture funds favour real estate and heavily leveraged enterprises. These funds are frequently willing to wait patiently for distributions that yield big profits.

Vulture funds employ unconventional investment tactics, looking for cheap discount prices with high predicted returns. Some people have criticised investment firms that behave like vulture funds because they prey on the cheap debt of faltering enterprises, forcing them to make payouts plus interest.

Overall, vulture funds and their management are not for those who are afraid of taking risks. Several investment managers in the United States engage in this style.

Essential notes

  • A vulture fund makes investments in securities whose market values have experienced significant declines.
  • Finding assets that have been unjustly oversold below their true value or where a favourable reversal is anticipated is the aim.
  • Distressed assets that traditional portfolio managers would steer clear of have been accumulated through the use of this high-risk, potentially high-reward approach.

What are vulture capitalists?

A vulture capitalist is a sort of venture capitalist who seeks out opportunities to profit by purchasing underperforming or failing companies. They are also notorious for seizing ownership of someone else's innovations and, as a result, the money that person would have earned from them.

The term is slang for an aggressive venture capitalist who is perceived to be predatory in character. Vulture capitalists, like the bird after which they are named, will wait until the proper moment arises and then swoop in at the last minute to take advantage of the lowest possible price.

Because of their intricate position and ability to walk a tightrope between critical financial intervention and opportunistic exploitation, vulture capitalists are a contentious figure in the corporate world.


The vulture capitalist industry is a complicated one, full with moral and ethical controversy. They are contentious actors in the financial system, treading carefully between needless economic intervention and opportunistic exploitation. Although they frequently provide failing companies with much-needed liquidity, their techniques can come out as harsh and too profit-focused, sometimes at the price of long-term stability and employee welfare.

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Frequently asked questions

How do the vulture funds work?
Vulture funds buy up the debt of financially struggling entities like countries or companies at a steep discount, hoping to profit by recovering more than they paid. They often use litigation or intense negotiation tactics to pressure debtors into paying back more than the market expects.
What is an example of a vulture fund?
An example of a vulture fund is Elliott Management, which famously bought discounted debt from countries like Argentina and Congo. They pursued aggressive legal actions to force these countries to pay the full amount of the debts, leading to substantial profits.
Are vulture funds good or bad?
Vulture funds are controversial. Critics argue they exploit struggling economies and worsen poverty by forcing debt repayment over social spending. Proponents say they bring discipline to financial markets by ensuring debts are honored, potentially improving credit access for everyone.
What are the famous vulture funds?
Famous vulture funds include Elliott Management and Aurelius Capital Management. These funds gained notoriety for their involvement in high-profile debt restructuring cases, like those of Argentina and Puerto Rico, where they demanded large repayments on purchased distressed debts.
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The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute any financial advice. The content herein has been prepared by BFL on the basis of publicly available information, internal sources and other third-party sources believed to be reliable. However, BFL cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information, assure its completeness, or warrant such information will not be changed. 

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