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‘It ain’t over ‘til it’s over’

The US Securities and Exchange Commission may have finalised rules surrounding SEC registration, but according to Republican congressmen, the fight to exempt private equity firms isn’t over yet.

Just as the US Securities and Exchange Commission put the finishing touches on required registration with the agency, Washington insiders have reignited the fight to exempt private equity.

A bill to exempt private equity firms from registering with the SEC has passed the House Financial Services Committee with bipartisan support. The bill now makes its way for a vote on the Republican-led House floor and if passed, would move on to the Senate, where Democrats retain a slim majority. President Barack Obama ultimately would hold veto power over any potential legislation, which if used, means the bill would need a two-thirds majority in Congress to pass.

Some insiders have been quick to write off the bill as Republicans pandering to their business base.

“I think it’s a gesture and nothing else,” said one New York-based fund formation lawyer. “Most understand that it’s a done deal. Venture capitalists got a pass and PE firms have to accept that March 30th is a reality.”

Others are still holding out hope. “There is a strong argument to be made that private equity should be exempt,” said one New York-based CFO. “We have the ears of a few and it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”