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UK and European Regulatory Trends Update

With Schulte’s financial regulatory and fund lawyers

The Hedge Fund Journal met with Schulte Roth & Zabel’s London-based partners, Christopher Hilditch and Anna Maleva-Otto, to discuss a selection of regulatory matters of relevance to UK hedge fund and alternative investment managers. UK regulators’ areas of scrutiny are in many cases similar to those of US regulators, though with some differences of emphasis, detail and modus operandi. Today, key regulatory risk factors for managers include: outdated documents, general complacency, insufficient accountability and attempts at ‘passing the buck’ to other service providers.

Oversight, inspections and examinations

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does not issue ‘deficiency letters’ in the way that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) does, nor does it make regular visits to managers’ offices as the US regulator does. Admittedly, when in 2014 permissions were varied so hedge fund managers could become Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMs), the FCA did review policies and documents, but in general, “the FCA follows a more thematic review process, picking a topic like conflicts of interest or controls, and selecting 30-40 firms for a phone call or visit and a desk review of policies and procedures,” Maleva-Otto explains. Additionally, most hedge fund managers are overseen by the FCA’s Wholesale supervision team rather than by dedicated examiners. The lower frequency of FCA visits – with some firms not inspected for years – “can create a false sense of complacency,” Maleva-Otto finds.

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INFORMING THE HEDGE FUND COMMUNITY With access to some of the industry’s biggest names and an astute and talented group of writers and contributors, The Hedge Fund Journal has established itself as a trusted source of information on the hedge fund industry.