EU’s Barnier expects agreement on host of new rules in few weeks

THE European Union could agree in the next few weeks a law to regulate hedge funds and private equity operators, blamed by some for financial excesses, according to Michel Barnier, European Commissioner responsible for financial regulation.

Barnier said last week’s deal over a set of pan-European watchdogs showed a political willingness for further post-crisis reforms.

“We are in the last straight. The big work has been done by the European Parliament. There are two or three sensitive points including on the treatment of third countries and the passport for hedge operators,” he said.

Under the proposal, approved hedge fund operators would get “a passport” allowing them to manage funds and sell them across the EU. The same proposal includes regulation of private funds.

Previous talks between European lawmakers and country representatives on the plan collapsed in June. EU member states are divided on hedge fund regulation with Germany and France wanting tougher controls than Britain.

On private equity regulation, European Parliament members are pushing for tighter rules than in draft proposals.