EU Unveils Proposed Hedge Fund Regulations

Apr 29 2009 | 11:56am ET

After many delays and amidst a chorus of criticism from all sides, the European Union proposed hedge fund and private equity regulations were unveiled today.

The draft law, put together by the European Commission at the request of the European Parliament, would force the continent’s largest hedge funds to report regularly to regulators. It would also impose minimum capital requirements.

Under the proposal, hedge fund managers with at least €500 million in assets under management—or just €100 million if they use leverage—would have to report on their main investments, performance and risk. The law would also place “exacting requirements” on minimum capital, risk management and accounting, Charlie McCreevy, the EU’s financial services commissioner, said.

The rules, if passed, would affect only EU-regulated hedge funds, for now. McCreevy expressed hope that “other jurisdictions around the world are going to look at what comes out of Europe and take some of the best ideas from there.” But he warned that if they have not done so within three years, funds based in countries with lower standards, or that refuse to cooperate in battling tax evasion, would be barred from being marketed in the EU.

The proposal requires the approval of a majority of the countries in the 27-member EU. But three of the bloc’s leading members—Britain, France and Germany—have already expressed skepticism about them. It also needs the assent of the European Parliament, whose second largest political group has already said the proposal does not go far enough.

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