European Parliament OKs Hedge Fund, PE Rules – Reuters

The European Parliament approved rules that will regulate hedge funds and private equity manager starting in 2013, Reuters reported. The measures were approved with overwhelming support. There were 513 votes in favor for the rules, with 92 opposing votes and three abstentions.

(Reuters) – The European Parliament approved new rules on Thursday to regulate managers of hedge funds and private equity groups from 2013, ending long and bitter negotiations over how tough the new regime should be.

The bloc’s assembly overwhelmingly backed the rules by 513 votes to 92 with 3 abstentions.

The package had already been agreed informally with EU member states who have joint say with parliament on the rules.

It marks the first set of EU rules to directly regulate the sector, which although widely seen as not a cause of the financial crisis, was still believe to be too opaque and lightly regulated.

Managers of all alternative investment funds, which also include real estate funds, must register to operate in the EU and report data to supervisors and meet capital requirements.

The EU assembly beefed up the draft proposals by including pay rules and restrictions on asset stripping on the private equity sector in a bid to stop them buying assets just for the short term.

The new regime dovetails with global efforts to shine a light on all parts of the financial markets — the United States has approved similar rules on registration and reporting but the EU rules go further.

The bulk of the EU’s hedge fund and private equity sector is based in Britain which was locked in long negotiations with France who wanted a tough regime for non-EU managers.

(Writing by Huw Jones, editing by Mike Peacock)