US Treasury drops hedge fund AML proposals

4 November 2008

The US Treasury has formally dropped its proposals for anti-money laundering (AML) regulations to govern the $2 trillion hedge fund industry, it has been reported.

A spokesman for the department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network told the Washington Post that while hedge funds represent some risk because their business and investors' identities are "generally not very transparent", the nature of that risk needs to undergo further study before any rules can be formulated.

The publication added that the Treasury faces difficulties in implementing a system because as the hedge fund industry is unregulated, there is currently no oversight body to enforce it.

Another reason for the delay is that hedge funds are generally only open to high-worth individuals and they impose limits on when cash can be accessed, meaning they are unlikely to be an effective conduit for terrorist financing.

Nevertheless, the investment pools have been increasingly scrutinized over their role in the current stock market turmoil and many lawmakers, including head of the House committee looking to the credit crisis, have called for greater transparency.

According to the BBC, around 8,000 hedge funds are thought to operate worldwide.

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