Bloomberg News

EU Said to Delay Hedge-Fund Rules Vote to September

June 24, 2010

The European Union may delay a final vote on rules to regulate managers of hedge funds and private equity firms until September after the bloc’s Parliament and national governments failed to reach an agreement, according to a European Commission official with knowledge of the negotiations.

Lawmakers, national governments and the commission still need to strike a deal on how much information must be disclosed by private-equity firms, on marketing rules and so-called passports to operate throughout the 27-nation region, said the official, who declined to be identified because the discussions are confidential.

“We want to get a dynamic agreement which is as consensual as possible and robust at a technical level,” Michel Barnier, EU financial services commissioner, said in a statement today. “The commission is trying to bring both sides closer together.”

The delay may be a boost to the U.K., which has opposed the new rules. EU finance ministers in May approved draft measures to tighten hedge-fund regulations even as new U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne raised concerns about the law’s affect on the industry.

The deal among ministers triggered talks with the European Parliament and the commission on the final wording of the proposals. All three groups must agree on the draft law before it can be adopted.

Barnier said at a June 8 press conference that he planned to conclude talks on the proposals by the end of this month.

Hedge-Fund Hub

Britain is home to 80 percent of Europe’s hedge-fund management industry and 60 percent of private equity, according to a report last year from the Financial Services Authority. It’s also a hub for non-EU funds looking to market in Europe. The U.K. didn’t have enough support among ministers to stop the law from taking another step toward being implemented.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner raised concerns with Barnier about the way the draft law may discriminate against U.S. funds in a letter sent in March.

In their May agreement, finance ministers said hedge-fund and private-equity managers should have to register in each EU country they want to market their funds.

The European Parliament sought to force managers to agree to transparency standards in exchange for a so-called passport to market to investors in the 27-nation bloc.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Moshinsky in Brussels at bmoshinsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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