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US fund investors and asset managers to examine market issues

The US President's Working Group on Financial Markets has announced the composition and aims for two private sector committees, one comprised of investors and the other of asset managers, who will advise on regulatory and other policy issues relating to private pools of capital such as hedge funds and private equity partnerships.

The private sector committees have been established to assess and foster a private sector dialogue on issues of significance to their industry and the market. The first task of the committees will be to develop best practice using the principles-based guidance released by the working group in February.

According to the US Treasury Department, the committees will draw up and publicly release statements of best practice to enable market participants to enhance investor protection and systemic risk safeguards consistent with the working group's principles and guidelines. The best practice statements will be made available for public comment before they are finalised.

'These groups are drawn from among the industry's finest in their respective areas,' says Treasury secretary and PWG chairman Henry M. Paulson, the former chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs. 'The market will benefit if experienced participants develop and implement best practices.'

The President's Working Group says it is encouraging market participants to move beyond the status quo as they work to strengthen market discipline, and that the committees represent a milestone toward a more competitive US marketplace with the world's highest standards for protecting investors and safeguarding against systemic risks.

Russell Read, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees Retirement System, will chair the investors' committee, while Eric Mindich, chief executive of Eton Park Capital Management, will chair of the asset managers' committee.

Investors will also be represented by vice-chairwoman Sandra Urie from Cambridge Associates, Gary Bruebaker of Washington State Investment Board, Myra Drucker of Commonfund, Tom Dunn of New Holland Capital, Peter Gilbert of Lehigh University Endowment Fund, Andrew Golden of Princeton University Investment Company, George Main of Diversified Global Asset Management, Ellen Shuman of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Damon Silvers from trade union body AFL-CIO and Greg Williamson of BP America.

The other asset management committee members are Anne Casscells of Aetos Capital, James S. Chanos of Kynikos Associates, Anne Dinning of D.E. Shaw, Jonathon S. Jacobson of Highfields Capital Management, Marc Lasry of Avenue Capital Group, Edward A. Mulé of Silver Point Capital, Daniel S. Och of Och-Ziff Capital Management, Daniel H. Stern of Reservoir Capital Group, William Von Mueffling of Cantillon Capital and Michael Vranos of Ellington Management Group.

According to the Treasury Department, the working group and the committee chairmen sought a broad range of experienced members to participate in the committees. The investors' committee includes representatives from labour organisations, endowments, foundations, corporate and public pension funds, investment consultants, and non-US investors, while the asset managers' committee covers a diverse range of hedge fund managers and strategies.

The President's Working Group first discussed the establishment of private sector groups in June, with the announcement of the second stage of the Treasury's capital markets competitiveness plan. The groups are designed to complement the work underway between the global regulators and the financial institutions they regulate that serve as creditors, lenders and counterparties to private pools of capital.

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