Hedge funds: Get in line for some ritual bloodletting
More heat than light was generated when UK MPs interrogated hedge funds. Neil Wilson reports.
Similar to the hearings held in the US Congress late last year, the Treasury select committee in the UK House of Commons has been holding hearings recently to investigate the financial crisis – including a session on hedge funds. Such an engagement with the democratic process should provide an ideal opportunity for hedge fund industry leaders to get across some important truths – and assist lawmakers in crafting appropriate legislative responses.
As in Washington, where the session featured luminaries such as George Soros and John Paulson, the London-based industry was represented by heavy hitters, including Paul Marshall, co-founder of Marshall Wace Asset Management; Chris Hohn of The Children’s Investment Fund; Doug Shaw, formerly of Gartmore and TCI and now head of hedge funds at BlackRock; and Stephen Zimmerman of NewSmith Asset Management.
After sitting through the session, however, I left the hearing room feeling somewhat frustrated and dispirited. The hedge fund industry group, also including AIMA director Andrew Baker, had been well prepared for the grilling they would get – and made a lot of good points.