Ones to watch

Eight additional regulators who are making waves in private equity around the world, and what it means for foreign and domestic private equity managers.

Yuji Yamamoto

Financial Services Agency

In a bid to reclaim its place as one of the world's leading international financial centers, the FSA is putting together a program of reforms and measures to encourage foreign financial institutions to go to Japan. These include private equity funds, hedge funds and banks. ?Japan can learn [different business models] from foreign financial institutions. That is where the revitalization of Japan lies,? the watchdog's head Yamamoto reportedly said.

Kiyotaka Sasaki

Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission

If Japan wants to be serious about attracting foreign financial institutions, it must first get its multiple wheels moving in the same direction. Commenting on the upcoming implementation of the country's Financial Instruments and Exchange Law that requires hedge funds and other alternative investment funds to be regulated, Sasaki, director of strategy and policy coordination at Japan's financial services regulator, reportedly said: ?If Japan alone strengthens regulation, funds will leave Japan?it is also possible that the market will become a healthier market for funds.?

South Korea
Kim Young-duk

Financial Supervisory Service and Financial Supervisory Commission

Kim, previously an economic adviser to President Roh Moo-hyun, recently took over the reins of the country's financial watchdog agencies from Yoon Jeung-hyun. Known as a reformist, Kim will have to calm fires still flaring over excessive profits made by foreign private equity firms while encouraging local banks to develop their own private equity operations, all under the mandate of making Seoul a financial hub. Kim no doubt knows that internationals must be welcomed in order for this to happen.

Susan Chang

Financial Supervisory Commission

Although the FSC allowed The Carlyle Group to acquire Advanced Semiconductor Engineering for $6.4 billion, deputy commissioner Chang said the watchdog will be ?more careful? in reviewing private equity deals. ?We are not against private equity funds,? she said, but the FSC is working on new rules to better regulate future private equity deals. In particular, target companies may be required to keep the debt ratio below a certain ceiling, post-buyout.

Peter Dutton

Member of Parliament

Dutton, as Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, championed Australia's Tax Laws Amendment (2006 Measures No. 4) Bill, which, among other things, exempts foreigners from paying capital gains tax except on the sale of Australian property. Look to Dutton for further pro-business legislation and policy.

Peer Steinbruck

Minister of Finance

Steinbruck is the head of the ministry to unveil the ?Act for the Modernization of the Framework for Capital Participations,? which provides clearer legal framework for the growth of the private equity industry in Germany. Proponents have applauded this act as a necessary step to make Germany a better business environment for private equity.

James Flaherty

Ministry of Finance

A bane to income trusts is a boon for private equity in Canada. Last October, Finance Minister Flaherty approved a proposal to tax income trusts by imposing an entity-level tax on the dividends paid out to unitholders of such trusts. Companies that have income trusts or were about to convert to income trust status will be looking for alternative options, private equity being a very attractive one, of course.

United States
Leo Strine, Jr.

Delaware Court of Chancery

The state of Delaware's Court of Chancery is easily the most influential arbiter of corporate disputes in the US. Vice Chancellor Strine has been a rigorous skeptic of the processes involved with the sale of corporations to private equity buyers. While presiding on three major cases involving takeovers with buyout bidders, he delved deep into the bidding process implying that any number of players can tilt the game in favor of a particular offer. His dealings with the Netsmart Technologies Inc., Topps Co. and Lear Corp. takeover cases displayed a willingness to examine larger market conditions and motivations of related parties. Judge Strine is making it clear that the mere appearance of impropriety can hamper a sale, something that should leave GPs treading lightly towards their next target.