EU Hedge Fund, Private Equity Rules Finally Finalized

May 27 2011 | 12:03pm ET

Europe's competitiveness ministers gave their final approval today to the European Union's controversial hedge fund regulations.

The Council of Ministers in Brussels granted the Alternative Investments Fund Managers directive its imprimatur six months after its approval by the European Parliament and seven months after its success was assured by a deal between the U.K. and France. It will be published in the EU's official journal shortly, and becomes law 20 days later. But it will still be some six years until all of its provisions, notably the controversial "passport" that will allow foreign hedge funds who meet EU regulatory criteria access to all 25 EU markets, come into effect.

What's more, EU members have two years to incorporate the directive's rules into their own laws.

The passport, which won't become law until 2018, was the final sticking point for the regulations, which will impose strict new reporting and custody requirements on hedge funds and private equity funds, as well as placing them under the authority of the new European Securities and Markets Authority, which has already begun work on implementing the rules. Private equity funds will also face new asset-stripping rules.

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