Money managers under the microscope
The hedge fund industry’s anger at the EU’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers directive is hardly new now, but there are growing signs of discontent from another group — the pension funds that actually put their money into hedge funds.
Last week we reported USS (the Universitied Superannuation Scheme) and Hermes, which manages BT’s pension scheme, were criticizing the draft laws for potentially limiting their investment choice and upsetting portfolio balance.
Now the NAPF (the National Association of Pension Funds) has written to Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, saying the directive could reduce choice and increase costs, while expressing concern about the model of regulation being proposed.
The hedge fund industry has quickly mobilised itself to criticize the directive and lobby for extensive revision, but, as it found earlier this month when Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, president of the EU assembly’s socialist bloc, spoke at a debate in the City, many supporters of the directive are already fully aware of hedge funds’ opposition to the plans.
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.