"Sweden marked the first day of its six-month European Union presidency on Wednesday by coming to the defence of hedge funds and private equity, promising to press for improvements in EU proposals for tougher regulation of both groups.
“There is an exaggerated fear that private equity contains big systemic risk. Our opinion is that it does not,” said Mats Odell, the country’s financial markets minister.
Hedge funds and private equity firms, especially those based in London, say regulatory plans presented by the European Commission in April would impose unnecessarily heavy compliance burdens.
Mr Odell’s remarks carry weight because Sweden, as holder of the rotating EU presidency, will chair the discussions at which EU government ministers will assess and, if necessary, amend the commission’s legislative proposals. Lord Myners, the UK’s financial services secretary to the Treasury, last month labelled the commission’s proposals “flawed” and said they should be revised.
Mr Odell said: “It is not private equity that caused the crisis, nor hedge funds. But in some countries, the political debate portrays private equity and hedge funds as the problem. That’s not the same as saying we shouldn’t regulate them. But the aim is to have sound regulation and not to kill the industry.”
Yet comments on Wednesday by Peer Steinbrück, German finance minister, suggest Sweden and the UK could still face stiff resistance in altering the commission proposals.
Speaking in Berlin, he accused the British government of resisting international efforts to tighten financial market regulations in order to protect the City of London’s position as a financial centre."
Tony Barber, "Sweden rides to defence of hedge funds", Financial Times 1 juli
"Europe’s banks will find the practice of betting with their own money twice as expensive in future, cutting their profits, under the terms of a proposed European Union directive published on Monday.
The proposal, which coincided with the publication of draft global rules by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision that went in the same direction, would require banks to “roughly double current trading book capital requirements”, the European Commission document said."
Patrick Jenkins och Brooke Masters, "EU seeks to double costs of banks' bets", FT 13 juli