In HFM Week, we're today setting out our thoughts on one of this year's most contentious EU proposals: the Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers (i.e. stricter rules for hedge fund and private equity managers and various other more or less obscure managers with alternative investment styles). The proposal is up for discussion and amendment in the European Parliament and the Council this autumn.
It's clear that there will be a Directive, but exactly what it will look like is a completely different story. In a nutshell: The Directive will - quite literally - force more transparency on fund managers, while giving them the opportunity to market their products across the EU once they've been authorisied to do so. Within reason and market practice, these are no bad things.
However, overall, the Directive is in danger of becoming a prime example of bad business law - especially when viewed through the prism of the Commission's own 'better regulation' principles. As we argue in the article, the Directive's objectives and benefits are unclear, it is riddled with legal uncertainty, and it is inconsistent with both existing regulations and prevailing market practices. Perhaps most critically, the Directive is protectionist to its very core.
The battle will primarily take place over the Directive's protectionism and the provisions which seek to overturn how managers are stuctured and how they go about their business (which could seriously harm the industry, restrict investor choice, etc.).
In the absence of a proper Impact Assessment on the proposal from the UK Government, Open Europe will soon publish a report on the possible impact of the Directive on the industry, investors and the wider economy. Watch this space.