EU Hedge Fund Deal Weeks Away, Official Says

Sep 7 2010 | 8:49am ET

A deal on strict new hedge fund and private equity rules for the European Union is just weeks away, according to the bloc’s internal markets commissioner.

Michel Barnier acknowledged that a compromise has yet to be reached on some of the more contentious issues still outstanding. But he expressed confidence that a final agreement on the rules—set to come into force next year—will come within weeks.

“We are in the last straight,” he told Reuters. “The big work has been done by the European Parliament. There are two or three sensitive points including on the treatment of third countries and the passport for hedge fund operators.”

It is on those points that talks foundered over the summer, with the British and U.S. governments objecting to “protectionist” rules they believe would block foreign hedge funds from European markets. The U.K. has also pushed for a bloc-wide “passport” that would allow foreign funds that meet the EU’s standards access to all EU markets, a proposal opposed by France.

The EU rules would impose strict new reporting and custody requirements on hedge funds, as well as possible leverage limits. The European Parliament is also said to be crafting tougher rules for private equity funds.

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