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EU misses vote on hedgie rule

LOBBYISTS are embarking on a desperate push to soften European proposals on hedge funds and private equity after a crucial vote in Brussels was pushed back until the autumn.

The European Commission is struggling to agree a final draft of the controversial Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) directive, which contains measures cracking down heavily on asset managers and venture capitalists. Talks between European members of parliament and country representatives collapsed yesterday amid disagreement over whether or not non-European funds should be able to market themselves freely in the European Union.

Jean-Paul Gauzes, the MEP, said: “The Spanish presidency [of the EU] informed me it would not be possible to reach a deal before the end of June... I have taken the decision to delay the vote until the second parliamentary session in September.”

People familiar with the EC’s attempts to harmonise views on AIFM described the process as “deadlocked” and “tortured”. But industry groups such as the British Venture Capital Association, as well as the UK government, led by Markā€ˆHoban, are using the delay as an opportunity to make their case for fewer restrictions on marketing funds between regions.

Simon Walker of the BVCA said: “We are pushing as hard as we can. There’s still quite a lot to play for.”

Tory MEP Syed Kamall, who has vigorously opposed a clampdown on hedge funds and private equity firms, said: “It gives time for all the voices to be heard, but the question is – will anyone listen?”

A compromise being mooted is a dual track scheme whereby parliament’s demands for a tough “passporting” process would be met, but individual countries could still allow funds to hold private placings.

However, Kamall said lawmakers were refusing to accept the deal, meaning talks were stalled.