There is lots of interesting research around hedge funds and social networks, including how many funds in similar geographies unexpectedly end up in similar stocks. But that kind of social network isn't what interests the SEC of late, it's another more insidious kind:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is examining hedge funds for signs of insider trading, demanding information about relationships between managers, employees, family members and public companies. SEC officials told hedge funds to list clients and workers who serve as officers or directors of publicly traded companies, along with the names of any relatives who hold such posts, according to a 27-page letter to industry executives obtained by Bloomberg News.
And there's more:
In addition to information about officers and directors, the SEC wants the identities of any relatives who work at brokerage firms, as well as a detailed description of any "deal" that a fund manager "was asked to consider" and turned down "because the proposal was deemed inadvisable, inappropriate, unethical, or possibly illegal." The letter asks for e-mails and contact information for all involved.
An amazing request, one that sure seems like over-reach to me. Of course, this only applies to hedge funds that have registered with the SEC, which is already in decline, and is almost certainly now going to decliner further given this sort of info fishing.