Any Europeans reading will be well aware of the bureaucratic operetta of the European Union, whether it comes to scrapping imperial weights and measures or the approved size of baked beans.
We know, of course, that EU bureaucrats have set their sights on the opaque hedge fund world, a mind-set extemporised perfectly by this week's Hong Kong Hedge Fund World conference, held behind locked doors at the insistence of hedgies who weren't feeling very transparent.
To the rescue comes the Alternative Investment Management Association (Aima), which is challenging the EU. That's easier said than done though, because rather like the FBI, the EU can grind away for decades and wear down its gainsayers. They always get their man.
Aima has produced a statement of its thoughts on the draft EU directive, which you can read by clicking here. In a nutshell, it advocates:
- registration of hedge fund managers;
- disclosure of systemically relevant data to regulators;
- enhanced transparency (otherwise, guys, it makes it look like you've got something to hide); and
- a 'passport' that authorises funds to be marketed.
So hats off to Aima for getting on to the front foot.
Now comes the hard bit. True, Aima has optimistically suggested that EU legislators recognise the need to revamp their clumsy initial proposals. But the association might equally have raised an ominous sign that the bureaucrats of Brussels and Strasbourg are gleefully knuckling down to years and years of work (hedge funds being rather more convoluted than the size of baked beans).
We could all be in our graves before this one gets ratified.
*Switzerland, a historically neutral nation, is sensibly not a member of the EU. Blessed be the cheesemakers.