Boris Johnson warns EC on new hedge fund rules

BORIS Johnson accused the European Commission (EC) of trying to &ldquo;strangle&rdquo; the City with its draft directive on regulation of hedge funds.<br /><br />The London mayor said the EC&rsquo;s proposals threatened to drive alternative investment managers out of the City, where 80 per cent of Europe&rsquo;s $300bn (&pound;184bn) in hedge fund assets are managed.<br /><br />Private equity houses, hedge funds and venture capital have put together a fighting fund to lobby against the directive, under the leadership of the Alternative Investment Management Association (Aima).<br /><br />And Johnson, who met with a group of hedge funds this week to hear their concerns, yesterday threw his weight behind efforts to combat the proposals, which he labelled &ldquo;badly thought out, or thought out with malign intent&rdquo;.<br /><br />He urged the European Commission to &ldquo;see sense&rdquo;, or risk watching the alternative investment sector leave Europe altogether.<br /><br />City minister Lord Myners said earlier this week that the UK would seek &ldquo;urgent surgery&rdquo; to the proposals, which include a stringent disclosure regime, minimum capital requirements and leverage limits on managers with assets worth more than &euro;100m (&pound;86.3m).