European Left Trashes Hedge Funds

Apr 11 2007 | 1:49pm ET

European politicians, both right and left, can’t get enough hedge-fund bashing, it seems.

Not content to sit on the sidelines while German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy go on the attack, the Socialist Group in the European Parliament has issued a blistering, 240-page report calling for stricter regulation of alternative investments.

The report, dubbed a “critical analysis,” argues that hedge funds and private equity firms should be subjected to more stringent transparency and disclosure requirements, as well as stricter rules regarding taxation and corporate governance.

“Given the good case for regulating banks, investment banks and other financial actors—why should hedge funds, and private equity be any exception?” the report asks. “Given the readiness for reforms of our labor markets, the European countries as well as our target markets—why should the new development of the financial markets be exempted from this trend?”

The report, prepared by Ieke van den Burg, the Dutch Socialist Group spokeswoman on economic and monetary affairs, and former Danish prime minister and current president of the Party of European Socialists Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, enumerates six primary areas of concern: pension funds, viability of private companies, security of service provision, workforce concerns, market stability and ethics.

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