Money managers under the microscope
Best of British
There has been no shortage of calls from continental European leaders such as Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy for regulation of the hedge fund industry to limit potential systemic risks to the global financial system.
But it’s little surprise that some executives in London, where the vast majority of European hedge funds are actually based, have privately suggested the calls stem from motives rather more mixed than simply wanting better regulation.
These, they say, can be anything from these leaders wanting to hide their own political problems, to them feeling some ownership because many hedge fund investors are based in continental Europe, to a simple feeling jealousy of an industry that in Europe at least is mostly British.
Whatever the motives, the hedge fund industry has chosen to focus on the many benefits it believes it brings — to Britain.
In a pamphlet entitled “A British success story”, which has been sent to all members of parliament and leading civil servants, the Alternative Investment Management Association talks about how much UK hedge fund firms run, how many people in Britain it employs, and its benefits to the British pensions and savings industries.
As industry bodies such as AIMA strive to head off stringent regulation for the industry, UK managers will be watching and waiting — and wishing them ‘best of British’.