Pensions Pick Fight Over EU Hedge Fund Proposals

Aug 4 2009 | 12:56pm ET

The European Commission knew it couldn’t please everyone with its proposed hedge fund regulations. But it seems to have pleased no one.

The latest to lobby against the strict new rules on European alternative investments are British pension funds. The National Association of Pension Funds is warning that the restrictions as currently written—although it has since become clear that they will be watered down before becoming law—would cut into pension returns and hurt their affordability.

“The directive, if passed in its current form, will reduce investment choice and mean that the return pension schemes can get for any level of risk will be reduced,” Joanne Segars, head of the NAPF, told Reuters. “Even a small reduction in returns will have an impact on the affordability of defined-benefit pension schemes.”

The pensions funds are just the latest to join British government-backed efforts to make the European Union’s hedge fund legislation less onerous. Others include the U.S. government and, unsurprisingly, the hedge fund lobby.

The draft law includes leverage limits and strict new reporting requirements for hedge funds. But the head of a key European Parliament committee has said the proposals will be made more palatable, and Financial News reports today that the EU is expected to drop two key aspects of its plan in response to concerns from the British Treasury.


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