City plans to lobby new government over AIFM

LEADING figures from the hedge fund and private equity industries are preparing to lobby the new government to stick up for the City’s interests in Europe.

Groups will court the incoming financial services minister – yet to be appointed – to stress the importance of amending the controversial Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) directive being formulated in Brussels under the watch of European commissioner Michel Barnier. With two votes on the bill scheduled next week, one hedge fund insider said: “This is probably the last major opportunity for the government to influence the directive.”

The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) and the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) are among those lining up campaigns.

Simon Walker, chief executive of the BVCA, said: “It’s going to be really important that the new government does not lose ground in areas of strength such as venture capital and private equity.”

Walker said the government needed to be prepared for a complex “nuts and bolts” argument rather than a high-profile dispute with Brussels.

ANDREW Baker has been one of the individuals leading the City’s charge against the controversial European AIFM directive.

Baker’s team at the Alternative Investment Management Association has already had talks with George Osborne’s entourage in opposition. Osborne’s aides are said to be well-briefed on Europe’s plans to crack down on hedge funds and private equity, raising hopes they will fight against its most unwelcome elements.

In a letter to the European parliament this month, Baker said plans to curb cross-border investing were “serious” and “unprecedented”.