The Great Debate UK

EU funds regulation hits the wrong target

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REUTERS– Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

If generals have a habit of fighting the last war, regulators are prone to fighting the war that they think they ought to have fought.

So it is in Brussels, where the European Commission last week (April 29) published a proposed directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMs).

Under this regime, AIFMs — chiefly hedge fund managers and private equity groups — would have to register with their home country regulator and provide extensive information on their business plans and activity, including risk controls, valuation metrics, safe-keeping arrangements and reporting systems.

from The Great Debate:

Ukraine too far east for western banks

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-- Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

Margaret DoyleIt's tough on Ukraine, but European banks should pull out. It may not be the only Eastern European economy giving its western bankers a headache but that country's political chaos and weak corporate governance outweigh the prospects of a return to growth.

Hungarians and Romanians, the bulk of whose loans are in foreign currencies, have seen their debts rise as their own currencies fall. And Sweden's SEB and Swedbank have taken a pasting in their neighbouring Baltic states.

Permira’s Buffini quits SVG board at last

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REUTERS– Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

LONDON, April 21 (Reuters) – SVG Capital’s structure has worked so well that no other private equity (PE) fund has chosen to copy it.
The two companies are closely intertwined: SVG <SVI.L> invests the bulk of its funds with Permira and is the private equity firm’s biggest investor. Damon Buffini, Permira’s chairman, was until 21 April a director of SVG.
He left at the end of a strategic review by SVG, whose shares are languishing some 90 percent below their peak.
Other listed private equity houses are completely integrated, like Electra or Hg Capital, or are arranged as funds of funds, with access to a range of different managers.
In the good times, this cosy model seemed to suit both partners well enough.

from The Great Debate:

The future is smaller for private equity

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Margaret Doyle-- Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

Investors' faith in banks may be reviving, but 2009 is shaping up as a year of reckoning for private equity. Two of Europe's most prominent listed buyout funds -- Candover Investments and SVG Capital -- are considering their options, with sale or dismemberment a serious prospect.

How the mighty are fallen! For more than a decade, the listed PE funds outperformed the market, and the managers earned rich fees nicknamed "2 and 20" -- 2 percent of funds under management and 20 percent of performance above a certain benchmark. But that outperformance has disappeared in little more than a year with many funds languishing in the "90 percent club" of shares that trade for less than 10 percent of their peak. Funds are blaming a killer combination of lousy returns, a debt drought and an investors' strike.

Ireland’s euro pain

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REUTERS– Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

LONDON, April 9 (Reuters) – Ireland’s budget is painful, but insufficient.
Brian Lenihan, the finance minister, is taking an additional 3.25 billion euros out of the economy each year, largely in higher taxes. But that will simply trim the budget deficit to 10.75 percent of national income. The 3 percent eurozone target is a distant dream.

Barclays’ conjuring trick

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– Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

REUTERSAbracadabra! Yet again, Barclays has pulled another rabbit out of its hat. With just days to go before the end-March deadline for the bank to apply for a government guarantee of its dodgier loans, it may again wriggle out of state control.

from The Great Debate:

Divorce marked to market

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MARKETS-GLOBAL /-- Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

The Myerson divorce case in Britain makes compelling reading, as all rich bust-ups do. Regardless of whether the judges make Ingrid Myerson hand back 3.2 million pounds of her 11.1 million pound payout to compensate for the decline in her ex-husband's shares, she is a lucky woman.

Thanks to her divorce last year from fund manager Bryan who, as one half of Active Value Advisers, was the scourge of corporate UK, she is independently wealthy. Had the marriage survived, she would probably be -- like him -- worthless.

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