EC spokesman: Directive was drafted ‘very quickly’

The body that drafted the Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers says it did so ’without much time to consult’. Meanwhile Richard Wilson, chairman of EVCA, is urging more LPs to voice their concerns over the proposed new rules.

The proposed Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers was drafted in a short timeframe without “much time” to consult with the private equity industry, said a representative from the European Commission – the body that drafted the Directive – today.

“We have tried as much as we could to engage with the industry,” said Didier Millerot, deputy head of the asset management unit at the Directorate General for the Internal Market at the European Commission. “We did not have much time to prepare our proposal, and did not have much time to consult over it,” he continued, “so since then we have tried to listen to ideas from the industry.”

Millerot was speaking this morning at the Private Equity International CFOs and COOs Forum in London. He stressed to delegates that the Directive was still only a proposal and far from finalised. The Commission, he said, is now working with industry groups, the European Parliament and the Council to ensure a satisfactory outcome is reached.

“Recognising that this was done very quickly but with some very good intentions, […] we are trying to play a more constructive role in the discussions,” he said.

The draft Directive, which contains new regulations to govern alternative asset fund managers – such as private equity, hedge funds, real estate funds and infrastructure – is currently being debated and a revised version is due to be presented at the beginning of December. Amendments will then be made before a deadline of 21 January 2010. The European Parliament is likely to vote on the final draft in July 2010.

Richard Wilson, a partner at Apax Partners and the chairman elect of the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA), called on more limited partners to stand up and let their concerns be known to members of the European Parliament.

“The weight of LP opinion will play very strongly here,” he said.

“The good news,” he continued, “is that some LPs are actually being very active and literally visiting politicians nation-by-nation with the facts and figures. But these are in the minority.”

Wilson went on to encourage the GPs at the conference to sit down with their own limited partners, communicate to them the implications of the Directive and urge them to lend their weight to the debate.