Registration Bill Includes One-Year ‘Transition,’ Requires Compliance Officers

Oct 27 2009 | 1:05pm ET

For some time now, hedge fund registration in the U.S. has been only a matter of time. Now, we have a better idea of just how much time.

The House Financial Services Committee yesterday approved a bill that includes a one-year transition period before registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission becomes mandatory. The bill’s author, Rep. Susan Kosmas (D-Fla.), said the delay is needed to allow both sides to get their ducks in a row.

“The SEC will need time to prepare for the additional responsibilities that will come from the registration of potentially thousands of new managers,” Kosmas claimed, despite the fact the SEC has itself imposed mandatory registration of hedge funds four years ago before that rule was tossed by the courts. Kosmas also said that hedge funds needed time to set up the infrastructure for registration and the inspections that will follow it: Among other things, the bill would require hedge funds to hire chief compliance officers.

The head of the agency set to charged with overseeing hedge funds once again threw her support behind requiring the hedge fund managers to register with the SEC. Mary Schapiro told the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association that hedge funds “have flow under the radar for far too long” and that she “will work with Congress to avoid creating broad new carve-outs or exceptions that could come back to haunt investors in later years.”

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