European Hedge Fund Group Expresses Concern

Oct 9 2008 | 8:09am ET

Fresh from announcing 10 new signatories to its voluntary best-practices code for hedge funds, the head of the Hedge Fund Standards Board is adding his voice to the criticism of the ban on short-selling, as well as expressing his fear of rash regulation.

“Some of these more immediate reactions can be counter-productive,” Antonio Borges told Reuters. While the U.S. bar on short-selling certain financial stocks has been lifted, similar restrictions remain in effect in many European jurisdictions where Borges’ members do business. Hedge funds managing about half of the hedge fund assets in Europe are signatories to the HFSB standards.

“There is extraordinary political pressure and when that happens it’s very difficult to know whether the outcome will be the best possible one or not,” Borges said. “The reputation of the industry will drive public opinion and therefore politicians in directions which might be harmful for all of us, not just hedge funds. Banning short selling is bad for the whole market.”

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