The United Kingdom has been fighting the European Union's proposed alternative investment fund managers directive, and this week Sweden also announced its opposition to the EU directive. Lord Paul Myners, the British Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury, has said in the past that he would fight the EU directive "tooth and nail" because it would impose stringent requirements on European private funds, such as additional disclosure requirements, as well as impose limits on leverage. There is a concern that stricter requirements could drive hedge funds and other private funds out of London, where the vast majority of European private funds are based, to other more lenient jurisdictions.
Until recently, the UK could not find much support from other EU member states in its opposition to the proposal. Other EU states, such as Germany and France, and left-of-center EU parliamentarians have in fact been calling for even stricter regulations than what the EU directive proposes.
After a meeting with UK's Lord Myners, Sweden's Minister for Financial Markets, Mats Odell, said "[i]t is important that we develop new regulations that prevent crises and at the same time safeguard London's continued position as the leading financial centre in Europe." Sweden's support is of particular significance because Sweden assumed the rotating presidency of the EU on July 1. It is likely that Sweden will oversee a number of critical decisions with regards to financial regulations in Europe. Lord Myners was pleased with Sweden's declaration of support, adding, "[w]e have agreed to work closely together in the months ahead to explain how hedge funds and private equity can add value whilst examining the concerns expressed by some member states."
EU Directive: available here
Press Release: Mats Odell Meets Lord Myners, Swedish Presidency of the European Union (June 22, 2009)
Story: Sweden, UK Agree to Cooperate on Regulation—Treasury, Reuters (June 23, 2009)