Hedge Fund Standards Get Cold Shoulder From Funds, Investors

Nov 17 2008 | 9:04am ET

Just one in 10 British hedge funds will definitely adopt best-practices standards promulgated last year by a group of top firms, a new study shows. The revelation is not likely to make regulators happy, as fingers of blame for the financial crisis continue to point at hedge funds.

A survey of 100 hedge funds by Kinetic Partners shows that two-thirds of hedge funds in the U.K. say they aren’t sure they will adopt the self-regulatory regime of the Hedge Fund Standards Board. Fully one-fifth of hedge funds say they will definitely not adopt the standards.

More worrying still, there seems to be very little demand on the part of hedge fund clients for the greater compliance with the voluntary code, which calls for, among other things, tougher standards for asset valuation, third-party valuation and a Chinese Wall between valuation and portfolio management. Not a single fund interviewed by Kinetics said that they had been asked by investors to adopt the code, despite the difficulties faced by hedge funds in recent months.

“It is alarming that no hedge funds had been contacted by their investors regarding the standards,” Julian Korek of Kinetics said.

The HSFB code also codifies best practices on disclosure, governance, risk and shareholder conduct.

Approximately 30 firms, including the original 10 that crafted the standards, have adopted the HFSB code. Anotion Borges, who heads the Hedge Fund Standards Board, the self-regulatory group set up by the HFSB, said he expects at least 100 more to adopt the standards soon.

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