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Spain backs tighter hedge fund rules -Guardian

Date: Friday, September 11, 2009
Author: Reuters

Spain's Economy Minister, Elena Salgado, has backed European Union plans for tougher regulations on hedge funds in an interview with the Guardian on Friday.

Spain, which will take the presidency of the European Union in January, is preparing to support France and Germany in proposals to regulate the industry, the Guardian reported.

"They need to be regulated, and our regulation (in Spain) on alternative investment funds is strict and has been for a long time. Not only hedge funds, but other funds as well, like property funds," Salgado said to the Guardian.

"The directive introduces some bigger obligations, in transparency and the protection of consumers that we think are adequate," Salgado added.

Salgado joins German and French leaders Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy in criticism of so-called Anglo-Saxon capitalism, calling for a more socially sensitive approach.

"We have to think about the social costs of our decisions," the Guardian quoted Salgado as saying.

In July, U.K. Treasury minister Paul Myners laid out plans to lobby against the EU directive, saying the draft laws required "major surgery".

Critics fear the proposed measures will undermine the competitiveness of EU member states like Britain, which is home to 80 percent of Europe's 400 billion dollar hedge fund industry. [ID:nL799743] (Reporting by William James; Editing by Valerie Lee) ((william.james@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 8830))