Hedge Fund, Private Equity Registration Bill Introduced

Oct 2 2009 | 2:33am ET

It’s been a foregone conclusion for some time now, but legislation requiring hedge fund managers and private equity firms to register with U.S. regulators has finally been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee’s capital markets subcommittee, is based on legislation offered earlier this year by the White House, but specifically exempts venture capital firms. Hedge funds and p.e. firms are not so lucky: They would be required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and submit to period examinations. The bill would also impose new recordkeeping and disclosure requirements.

“Many financial firms skirt government oversight and get away like bandits, but now the advisers to hedge funds, private equity firms and other private pools of capital would become subject to more scrutiny by the SEC,” Kanjorski said.

Kanjorski’s bill would also double the SEC’s funding over the next five years, as well as giving it new enforcement powers. It would set up a whistleblower rewards program, and give new powers to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

Kanjorski’s proposal comes after Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the Financial Services Committee, announced his own plans to introduce a hedge fund registration bill. Frank also said that venture-capital funds should be exempted.

“We are supportive of the role of venture capital, we are working in consultation with venture capital and I don’t think there will be anything in there for venture capital firms,” Frank said.


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