The Senate takes on hedge funds…

July 16, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, we listened in on the Senate Banking Committee’s hearing on additional regulation for hedge funds and other forms of private investment, like venture capital. Which seems like a fairly important topic, given some of the grand-standing we’ve seen in the not-too-distant past from various elected officials. Yet, when the live feed pulled away from the witness table, which included Kynikos’ Jim Chanos, it looked as if there were only two Senators in the hearing room. Perhaps between the healthcare debate and the Sotomayor confirmation hearings, regulating hedge funds just didn’t rank.

Still, there were a few interesting comments during the meeting. As we live tweeted yesterday, Chanos, who was speaking on behalf of the Coalition of Private Investment Funds, actually said that the Private Fund Transparency Act which Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced last month, doesn’t go far enough. Reuters has more details on this here and you can download Chanos’ 20 pages of prepared comments here. There was also testimony from Joseph Dear, the chief investment officer for Calpers and Trevor Loy, a managing partner at Flywheel Ventures.

One of the funnier moments at the hearing was near the beginning when Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) said he “wasn’t sure if the SEC could afford to hire the brains it needs to get to the problem. If I was a fund manager, I wouldn’t want to work for the SEC.” While the SEC has made several smart hires recently of career prosecutors and respected lawyers (see here and here, we’re still waiting for the announcement that someone at one of the Tiger Cubs, for example, has decided to pack it in to work for the SEC.

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