On 18 March 2009, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) published a Consultation Report entitled Hedge Funds Oversight. The purpose of this Consultation Report was to describe the operating environment of hedge funds, highlight the associated regulatory risks, review and illustrate the work and recommendations issued by IOSCO and other international organisations and regulators in this area and to make preliminary recommendations of possible principles and actions that may serve to mitigate these risks.

IOSCO has now published a final report on hedge funds oversight. The final report contains six high level principles designed to enable regulators to address the regulatory and systemic risks posed by hedge funds in their own jurisdictions while supporting a globally consistent approach.

The six principles are:

  • Hedge funds and/or hedge fund managers/advisers should be subject to mandatory registration.
  • Hedge fund managers/advisers which are required to register should also be subject to appropriate ongoing regulatory requirements relating to: (a) organisational and operational standards; (b) conflicts of interest and other conduct of business rules; (c) disclosure to investors; and (d) prudential regulation.
  • Prime brokers and banks which provide funding to hedge funds should be subject to mandatory registration/regulation and supervision. They should have in place appropriate risk management systems and controls to monitor their counterparty credit risk exposures to hedge funds.
  • Hedge fund managers/advisers and prime brokers should provide to the relevant regulator information for systemic risk purposes (including the identification, analysis and mitigation of systemic risks).
  • Regulators should encourage and take account of the development, implementation and convergence of industry good practices, where appropriate.

Regulators should have the authority to co-operate and share information, where appropriate, with each other, in order to facilitate efficient and effective oversight of globally active managers/advisers and/or funds and to help identify systemic risks, market integrity and other risks arising from the activities or exposures of hedge funds with a view to mitigating such risks across borders.

In the final report IOSCO recommends that all securities regulators apply the principles in their regulatory approaches.

Kathleen Casey, Chairman of the IOSCO Technical Committee, said:

"Securities regulators recognise that the current crisis in financial markets is not a hedge fund driven event. Hedge funds contribute to market liquidity, price efficiency, risk distribution and global market integration. Nevertheless the crisis has given regulators the opportunity to consider the systemic role hedge funds may play and the way in which we deal with the regulatory risks they may pose to the oversight of markets and protection of investors.

The application of these principles, in a collective, cooperative and efficient way, can provide regulators with the tools to obtain sufficient, relevant information in order to address the regulatory and systemic risks posed by hedge funds."

View Hedge funds oversight: Final report, 22 June 2009