Man’s Clarke Backs FSA, Calls Abolition Plan ‘Unhelpful’

Nov 15 2010 | 10:33am ET

Man Group CEO Peter Clarke is blasting a U.K. government plan to abolish the Financial Services Authority, saying that the move is “unhelpful” and hurt the country’s position during recent negotiations over European Union alternative investments regulation.

The ruling Conservative Party pledged to shut down the country’s main financial regulator during its successful election campaign—funded in no small part by Clarke’s predecessor at Man, Tory Party Treasurer Stanley Fink. Oversight would be split between a new regulator and the Bank of England, which would have authority over the country’s hedge fund industry, Europe’s largest.

But Clarke dismisses the move as “a decision made by politicians.”

“Whether that makes it a political decision I don’t know,” he told the Financial Times. “What we are all concerned with is whether the organization that succeeds it is properly equipped and resourced.”

Worse still, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s June decision to wind down the FSA by 2012 “impaired” the U.K.’s ability to battle French and German plans to impose strict new rules on the industry, Clarke said. New EU hedge fund rules were approved last month by EU governments and last week by the European Parliament.

Clarke also took the opportunity to defend the beleaguered FSA—at least in the area of hedge fund regulation.

“The FSA has demonstrated over many years successful oversight of the hedge fund industry,” he told the FT. “The FSA should take some credit for that. What there is is uncertainty, which is unhelpful.”

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