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Hedge funds better off with best practices than regulations

Hedge funds better off with best practices than regulations
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First Published: Tue, Apr 15 2008. 04 26 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Apr 15 2008. 04 26 PM IST
Martin Crutsinger/ AP
Washington: In the place of new government regulations, the Bush administration is coming forward with some industry-developed “best practices” to guide the operation of hedge funds.
Those guidelines were scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the leaders of the two groups working on guidelines for the funds.
One set of recommendations provides guidelines on how investors of hedge funds should operate. It was drawn up by an investors’ group headed by Russell Read, the chief investment officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest pension fund in the United States.
The other set of recommendations designed to serve as guidelines for the managers of the hedge funds was draw up by an advisory panel headed by Eric Mindich, the head of Eton Park Capital Management, a large hedge fund.
The Bush administration has resisted pressure to increase government regulation of hedge funds, arguing that market discipline is the best way to handle these funds. The White House still supports that view even after the turbulence that has hit financial markets roiled by a serious credit crisis.
Those troubles claimed their biggest victim last month with the near-collapse of Bear Stearns, the country’s fifth largest investment bank, which was taken over by JP Morgan Chase & Co. in a deal in which the Federal Reserve provided a $30 billion loan.
Hedge funds, vast pools of capital that operate secretively and with very little government supervision, have grown explosively in recent years.
While hedge funds cater to institutional investors and very wealthy individuals, millions of ordinary people have become investors in them through their pension plans.
Hedge funds have been caught up in the recent turmoil in financial markets, with investors growing worried about the solvency of funds that had invested heavily in securities backed by subprime mortgages, where delinquencies have hit record levels.
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First Published: Tue, Apr 15 2008. 04 26 PM IST