A snippet from ABC News:
The administration is proposing that hedge funds and other private pools of capital, including private equity funds and venture capital funds, be required to register with the SEC if their assets exceed a certain size. The threshold amount has yet to be determined, officials said.
The proposal on credit default swaps and other derivatives would require the markets on which they are traded to be regulated for the first time, and for the buying and selling of these instruments to be conducted in ways that will foster greater oversight.
Credit default swaps, which trade in a $60 trillion global market without government oversight, are contracts to insure against the default of financial instruments like bonds and corporate debt. They played a prominent role in the credit crisis that brought the downfall of investment banking giant Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. last fall and nearly unraveled AIG, forcing the government to provide more than $180 billion in support.
Hedge funds, vast pools of capital holding an estimated $1.5 trillion in assets, operate mostly outside of government supervision. As the market crisis deepened last fall, hedge fund selling was widely cited as one of the reasons for increased volatility that pounded stocks and bonds. Hedge funds also suffered huge losses last year, notably from investments in securities tied to subprime mortgages.
The outline of the regulatory reform was being unveiled a week before President Barack Obama was scheduled to meet for discussions among the Group of 20 major industrialized and developing countries in London to assess what needs to be done to deal with the global financial crisis.
While the administration is pushing other nations to follow the U.S. lead in putting together sizable economic stimulus programs to jump-start global growth, many in Europe are resisting those calls and arguing that the United States needs to do more to toughen financial regulations. They believe the current troubles can be traced to lax regulation in the United States in such key areas as hedge funds and credit default swaps.
Requiring hedge funds to register would open their books to inspection by regulators. The SEC sought that authority several years ago but was stymied by a federal appeals court in 2006.
Hedge funds have grown explosively in recent years while operating secretively. They have lured an increasing number of ordinary investors, pension funds and university endowments — meaning millions of people now unwittingly invest in hedge funds indirectly.
The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.