U.S. House of Representatives Holds Hearing on Hedge Fund Adviser Registration

On October 6, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives, Financial Services Committee held a hearing on three legislative proposals regarding: (1) investor protection; (2) private fund adviser registration; and (3) insurance information.  The proposals, introduced by Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises, are aimed at reforming the regulatory structure of the financial services industry and largely mirror proposals released by the Senate and the Obama administration.  See also “House Subcommittee Considers Bill Requiring U.S. Hedge Fund Advisers with Over $30 Million in Assets Under Management to Register with SEC,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 2, No. 41 (Oct. 15, 2009).  At the sparsely-attended hearing, regulators and industry advocates largely expressed support for the proposals.  Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Al.), for example, called private funds, including hedge funds, “a valuable cog in our economy.”  (Notably, however, the hearings took place before charges against Raj Rajaratnam of the Galleon Group were made public.  See “Billionaire Founder of Hedge Fund Manager Galleon Group, Raj Rajaratnam, Charged in Alleged Insider Trading Conspiracy,” above, in this issue of the Hedge Fund Law Report.  While the charges against Rajaratnam and others have more to do with a group of allegedly bad actors, and less to do with hedge funds per se, press reports already have begun to conflate the hedge fund structure with the alleged insider trading.)  Despite the overall productive tone of the hearing, a major question remains: how quickly will Congress move with the proposed hedge fund adviser registration legislation?  This article summarizes the most relevant topics of discussion at the hearing, including commentary from members of Congress on the three bills, and concludes with a discussion of likely timing of legislative action.

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