ECB demands hedge fund register

12 December 2006

The European Central Bank (ECB) called for a central register of hedge fund activity yesterday.

This move to increase transparency is hoped to reduce the risks that highly leveraged hedge funds present.

The ECB's December Financial Stability Review states: "Important risks may be developing - although they are extremely difficult to quantify - related to credit risk transfer markets in which hedge funds have become increasingly present."

It adds that the financial stability of the eurozone is "broadly favourable" but with several sources of risk and vulnerability leaving "no room for complacency".

ECB vice president Lucas Papademos explained that a central register of hedge funds would be on the agenda at next year's G8 meetings and German deputy finance minister Thomas Mirow is set to raise the subject when he meets with his counterparts in the US Treasury this week.

However, the FT this weekend reported that the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) is against forced disclosure.

FSA chairman Callum McCarthey was quoted as saying that it would be "at best useless and probably counterproductive" to make hedge funds report positions.

Around 80 per cent of European hedge fund mangers are based in London.

In September this year the collapse of the Amaranth Advisors hedge fund, which lost investors around $7 billion, was described in the ECB stability review as having "little discernible impact on markets", despite the fact that there were fears "an idiosyncratic collapse of a large hedge fund could trigger adverse asset price dynamics".

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