The recommendations on hedge fund oversight of the G20 leaders meeting in Washington at the weekend, such as they were, were probably music to the ears of many fund managers. The modest suggestions on financial sector regulation were pretty much limited to a pledge to boost co-operation and harmonisation rather than any concrete measures.

The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the G20 meeting noted in its section on strengthening transparency and accountability that the various efforts were already underway to develop best practice codes for private pools of capital and hedge funds, and that proposals for a set of unified best practice statements should be brought forward for finance ministers to review their adequacy, drawing upon the analysis of regulators, an expanded Financial Stability Forum and other relevant bodies.

The meeting set a March 31 deadline for a review of the scope of financial regulation, with a special emphasis on 'institutions, instruments, and markets that are currently unregulated, along with ensuring that all systemically-important institutions are appropriately regulated'.

However, it is acknowledged that little of substance will happen until Barack Obama is installed in the White House, with the next meeting of the G20 scheduled for just over three months after the US president-elect takes up office.

Only then will it start to become clear what implications the combination of a financial crisis and the election of a critic of hedge funds as US president will have for the regulation and disclosure requirements with which the industry must comply.


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