It may look like an unlikely scenario on paper, but Europe's elderly masses could be about to provide the killer blow to draft EU rules to regulate the alternative investment industry.

Hedge fund associations, private equity lobbyists, the British government and even the United States Treasury have waded into the debate over the proposed legislation, seeking to soften an approach which has been labelled an exercise in post-financial crisis political grandstanding, rather than a measured look at how to better regulate the sector.

Hedge fund crusaders?Now though, the pension funds have entered the stage, and their concerns will be far more likely to win over MEPs across the politcal spectrum.

The giant schemes have pushed more and more retirement money into alternatives as they seek to diversify their portfolios and find the kind of returns that can cushion the effects of pensioners -- eventually you and I -- living long enough to drain the coffers dry.

They have been stung into action by the possibility that their pursuit of profit to pay future liabilities could be derailed by measures likely to remove non-EU competition from the funds marketplace, while loading punitive additional expenses on the funds that remain.