Canada Throws Cold Water On German Plans

Apr 2 2007 | 9:26am ET

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said today he sees no need for any international hedge fund regulation, an issue likely to be on the table when the G-7 meets later this month and the G-8 convenes in June.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has used her country’s presidency of the G-8 to push for some sort of international regulatory cooperation on hedge funds, if not outright multilateral regulation. But Flaherty said of his German counterparts, “we don’t share their enthusiasm.”

“There’s less concern in North America than in some parts of Europe about hedge funds,” he told Reuters. “It’s really a transparency issue. I know there is some concern in some quarters about the perceived lack of transparency and a desire to regulate. It’s probably not achievable by particular countries.”

Flaherty, who made the comments in London, posits that greater familiarity with hedge funds is the reason that his country, the U.S. and the U.K., the latter pair by far the largest hedge fund centers in the world, are more reticent about strict international regulation.

“We have more comfort in North America based on our experience with hedge fund transparency,” he said. “We are more used to them.”

Ottawa may not be pushing for strict international oversight, but strict domestic rules are on the horizon for Canada’s US$23 billion hedge fund industry. In February, the country’s 13 provincial and territorial securities regulators—Canada has no national equivalent of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission—announced that hedge funds are to be as tightly regulated as the country’s mutual funds. Under the proposed rules, hedge funds will be required to register with their provincial regulator and will be added to a national registry. In addition, hedge fund managers will have to take proficiency tests and pass a background check to be licensed to manage money.


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