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President's Working Group committees finalise best practices for hedge funds

The two private-sector committees established by the President's Working Group on Financial Markets in the US have released their final sets of best practices for asset managers and hedge fund investors in an effort to increase accountability for participants in the industry.

The working group originally tasked the committees, which were selected in September 2007, with collaborating on industry issues and developing best practices. The committees released their draft best practices in April 2008, and provided a public comment period.

The final best practices for asset managers call on hedge funds to adopt comprehensive best practices in all aspects of their business, including the critical areas of disclosure, valuation of assets, risk management, business operations, compliance and conflicts of interest.

"Given all of the events of recent months, it is more important than ever for the hedge fund industry to stand behind a set of far-reaching best practices that will promote investor protection and reduce systemic risk,' says Eric Mindich, chief executive of Eton Park Capital Management, who chairs the Asset Managers' Committee.

The final best practices for investors include a Fiduciary's Guide, which provides recommendations to individuals charged with evaluating the appropriateness of hedge funds as a component of an investment portfolio, and an Investor's Guide, which provides recommendations to those charged with executing and administering a hedge fund programme if one is added to the investment portfolio.

Gary Bruebaker, chief investment officer of the Washington State Investment Board, says: "These final recommendations can provide an important tool to those who are doing the diligence necessary to assess and monitor investments in hedge funds."

The committees' work was based on the President's Working Group's Principles and Guidelines Regarding Private Pools of Capital issued in February 2007, which sought to enhance investor protections and systemic risk safeguards.

The group includes the heads of the US Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

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