Hedge Fund Regulation Proposed In U.S. House

Feb 3 2009 | 2:48am ET

Just days after a bill that would require hedge funds to register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was introduced in the Senate, a similar measure has been offered on the other side of the Capitol.

Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) yesterday introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives. Though offered by a member of the minority, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the House Financial Services Committee chairman, has said he is in favor of forcing hedge funds to become more transparent.

“Growing bodies of evidence points to the volatile impact hedge funds have on individual stocks and the markets in general,” Castle told the Delaware Business Ledger. “As the Congress, the Securities Exchange Commission, and the Commodities Future Trading Commission consider substantial market reforms, they must carefully consider the role hedge funds have in markets today.”

Castle’s bill goes a good deal further than that offered last week by Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.). The Senate proposal would compel hedge funds to register, file an annual disclosure form, comply with SEC record-keeping standards and cooperate with SEC investigations. Castle adds provisions that would also force pension plans to disclose their hedge fund investments.

“Some retirees participated in pension plans while they were employed. What they may not know is that the pension fund managers entrusted with their retirement savings have bet heavily in very risky investments like hedge funds,” Castle said. “My bill would require disclosure of these investments to retirees and government watchdogs.”

Castle’s bill would also direct the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets to study and report on the hedge fund industry, including recommendations for action to the Congress.

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