Europe To Study Impact Of Proposed Hedge Fund Regulation

Oct 5 2009 | 2:16am ET

European lawmakers have struck upon a novel idea in their consideration of strict new rules governing hedge funds and private equity firms: They’d like to know something about what the proposal would do before they choose to enact it.

The European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee said it would conduct an impact assessment of the proposed rules, which include stringent new reporting requirements and potential leverage limits. Sharon Bowles, the chair of the committee, warned that the study would be limited in scope due to a lack of funding, the Financial Times reports.

Still, word of the study will be music to many ears in the alternative investments industry. The European Commission, which drafted the controversial proposal, failed to conduct such a study as it was forced to rush the rules out amidst enormous pressure earlier this year. The British government and many players in the industry have been critical of the EC for not considering the impact of the rules, which concerns both.

It’s not just the European Parliament that seems to be listening to those, and other, complaints. The head of the asset management unit of the EC’s internal markets division acknowledged that major changes would have to be made before the proposal becomes law. In some of the EC’s first comments about the draft since its release, Ugo Bassi said it was not the proposal’s intention to keep foreign hedge funds out of Europe or cover all types of alternative investments with the same rules.

“We believe an all-encompassing response is the right approach,” Bassi said. “But we need to make a special effort at differentiation.”

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