Apparently more than a thousand amendments have been tabled for the Alternative Investment Fund Management directive, Brussels’ attempt to bring private equity and hedge funds under its loving control.
This unprecedented level of rewriting during the legislative process is a testament to the inexorable sway of the alternative asset management industry. The original, draconian, draft of the AIFM was seen as a shy at the ever popular Aunt Sally of hedge funds, or ‘locusts’ as they are known in Germany. The usually painstaking and thoughtful asset management unit of the European Commission’s internal markets division had apparently come under political pressure to bring out a hardhitting draft directive in a hurry.
At leisure, however, even the European Parliament found regulating a European hedge fund industry too harshly might not be that good an idea. Its own impact study found implementation of the proposed directive as it stood could result in a 0.2 per cent contraction in the combined GDP of the European Union.
Possibly, however, the initial announcement and pained squawks for the industry were enough to satisfy the hedge fund haters, and now the tedious work of actually piecing together something actually workable can be done out of the glare of the media spotlight.
Certainly the number of journalists prepared to dig through all 1000+ amendments is likely to be as slim as the number of readers prepared to read about them.
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The Admiral Codrington
Among the many financial institutions that have disappeared in the last year, one in particular is to be mourned. The European Real Estate Private Equity Mezzanine CDO Group Poker School no longer meets in the Admiral Codrington.
Theories vary as to the cause of its demise – do the players have a new pastime? Do they find they are so busy losing other people’s money, they have no time to lose their own? Do they no longer have any money? I prefer to think they are simply ashamed to be seen in public.
Brussels has been working overtime on financial matters, coming out with no less than three controversial documents today. Presumably the European Commission is trying to cram in as much as possible before a new Commission is appointed in September. Charlie McCreevy, the EU internal market commissioner, wants to leave his mark.
There has been much tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth by private equity managers and hedge funds over one of these documents, which proposes to introduce a pan-European regulatory framework for alternative investment managers.