Possible EU Compromise On Foreign Hedge Funds

Jun 11 2010 | 12:25pm ET

The European Commission has injected itself into the sticky impasse between the European Parliament and European Union governments over how foreign hedge fund managers will be treated under proposed new regulations.

Under a compromise tabled by the commission, individual European governments could continue to decide which foreign hedge funds would be allowed to operate in their jurisdiction during a transition period. After perhaps three years, those state-by-state rules would be abolished in favor of a single system for the entire EU, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

If approved, the compromise would remove the final stumbling block to the EU rules, which would impose strict new reporting and custody requirements on hedge funds and private equity funds, as well as possible leverage and borrowing limits. Currently, the European Parliament is backing a so-called “passport” that would give foreign hedge funds that meet certain standards access to all EU markets. But European finance ministers, urged on by France, rejected such a move in their version of the regulations.

The approval of both bodies is necessary for the regulations to become law.

The fate of foreign hedge funds has dominated recent debate about the measure, with the U.K. and U.S. arguing vociferously against what they call “protectionist” measures, and France—which otherwise supports the tough Union-wide standards—arguing in favor of allowing national governments to decide which hedge funds are up to snuff.

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