Money managers under the microscope
Lord Myners played a cheeky game of bull and bear with Paul Marshall, the co-founder of hedge fund company Marshall Wace, at the close of his Q&A session at the Fund Forum in Monaco this morning.
After a playful grilling by Lord Myners, which ran the gamut from the problems of gating amongst hedge funds to Marshall Wace’s interest in being a Red Knight for Manchester United football club, Lord Myners fired various concepts at Marshall in a quickfire round, inviting him to choose whether he was a bull or a bear.
Although Marshall was bullish on the dollar and long-dated bonds, practically everything else made him feel bearish, from the euro zone to Spanish banks to Lady Gaga, Goldman Sachs, Paris Hilton and BP’s hapless CEO Tony Hayward.
When Lord Myners pointed this out, Marshall declared he was bullish on life after death, but could not quite give himself over to being a bull for UK Chancellor of the Exchequor George Osborne, and passed. The somewhat longer in the tooth Vince Cable was given his fulsome support however.
The timing of the Alternative Investment Management Association’s hedge fund disclosure initiative indicates just how strong the winds of change are blowing in hedge fund land.
Coming just a day after ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet called the credit crisis “a loud and clear call” for extending hedge fund regulation, the move shows the hedge fund industry feels it must be more active in deciding the future shape of regulation.
Tuesday’s Treasury Select Committee grilling of the hedge fund industry proved a lively affair (if somewhat hot in a crammed Westminster room), but you have to wonder how well diversified their choice of witnesses is.
As well as Chris Hohn, co-founder of TCI, the Committee picked BlackRock’s head of alternatives Douglas Shaw — a previous employee of TCI.