Hedge Funds Increasing Lobbying Efforts, Focusing On Shaping Regulations Rather Than Preventing Them

The nature and volume of lobbying by hedge funds and groups representing them has changed dramatically in the past year.  Formerly, hedge funds and their representatives engaged in only a limited amount of lobbying, relative to various other industries, and such lobbying as they engaged in was generally focused on preventing legislation or regulation that would require registration of hedge fund managers with the SEC.  Largely as a result of the credit crisis and the flurry of bills and proposals it has engendered, many of which would impact hedge funds and their managers directly or indirectly, hedge fund lobbying has shifted focus.  The new goal of such lobbying is to shape law and regulation, rather than to prevent it.  Specifically, the new lobbying efforts aim to ensure that any law or regulation applicable to hedge funds that makes its way onto the books be more procedural than substantive.  In this view, registration by itself would not be such a bad outcome, but dramatic limits on leverage, frequent public disclosure of positions and restrictions on the industries in which hedge funds can invest (all of which have been suggested in one form or another) might, together with similar substantive limitations, materially undermine hedge fund performance and operations.  We detail the reasons for the changed nature and volume of hedge fund lobbying; the role of the Managed Funds Association; the benefits and detriments of lobbying efforts by individual fund managers; the specific legislative and regulatory areas on which hedge fund lobbying is focusing; and international coordination of lobbying efforts.

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