Funds Hub

Money managers under the microscope

Tilting at windmills

September 4, 2009

Hedge fund rules on thin ice?The growing discomfort among pension funds over EU plans to regulate the hedge fund industry has prompted another public pronouncement, this time from Dutch schemes with assets of about 450 billion euros, including APG and PGGM.

We’ve noted the potential pivotal role the pension industry could play before, but as yet there hasn’t been an appreciable softening in the tone adopted by the hardliners. Their standard bearer Poul Nyrup Rasmussen┬ácalled London Mayor Boris Johnson “out of touch with reality” after the much-lobbied blonde tried to strike a blow for the alternatives industry on a vist to Brussels this week.

It is notable though that the Dutch funds have deliberately sought to divorce themselves from the frenetic efforts of the hedge funds and private equity funds, instead pleading to MEPs as ‘users’ of the industry.

Speaking to Global Pensions, APG compliance officer Gerben Everts said: “Unlike suggestions in the proposal, we do not think the protection envisaged by the directive is really beneficial for us, as professional investors.”

He urged more transparency among hedge funds, and echoed warnings by the UK’s largest pension scheme and the British trade body for pension schemes that the rules as they stand could lead to higher pension premia and lower payouts — difficult conclusions to ponder for a socialist parliamentarian aware of the problems posed by Europe’s ageing population.

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