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French Regulator, Associations and Managers ambitious to make France a leading hedge fund destination

08-11-2011 02:54 PM CET | Business, Economy, Finances, Banking & Insurance

Press release from: Opalesque Ltd

Paris, August 11th 2011: According to the 2011 Opalesque France Roundtable held in Paris with representatives from the Financial Market Regulator AMF, hedge funds and hedge fund investors, France has started to benefit from a wide range of innovative initiatives aimed at making the country a leading hedge fund and alternative investment destination. This new momentum has already contributed to the growth in strength and number of the local alternative investment community:

• The EMERGENCE national seeding fund for France-based asset managers incentivates French nationals working in places like London, New York or Connecticut to come back to France to set-up their company or office
• French financial regulator AMF views it as a “necessity” to have more managers and more alternative investment management companies in France. The AMF is considering more flexibility regarding regulation of the product and the manager while being stricter on selling practices
• The AMF is also considering discussing with the prudential supervisor ACP an extension of the buying powers of institutional investors into alternative investments
• Hedge fund launches that before would have taken place in London are increasingly happening in Paris

However, the path to become a globally leading asset management center is considered long and difficult, and will require even more support and coordination of local regulations and the investor base.

“Good” AIFM versus "roadblock" Solvency II

While the AIFM directive is now seen as a success and “good directive” for the future of the alternative investment industry, the misconceptions of Solvency II regarding hedge fund investment and its very unfavorable “by default” treatment of alternative products is considered to be the major roadblock for European institutions regarding a wider usage of alternative investments.

Nevertheless, French investors invest into absolute return funds "if a manager truly achieves this absolute return objective by creating alpha and not packaging up beta and selling it at alpha prices."

French managers and solution providers experience a significant institutional demand for high quality UCITS and other onshore funds. Asset manager Lyxor announced the launch of two dedicated managed account platforms in Dublin and Delaware (for U.S. institutional investors), as well as a UCITS hedge fund platform for single hedge fund managers.

Like the magnitude of their fixed income risk, institutions mostly underestimate diversification benefits of hedge funds

Institutions are only slowly awakening to the fact that they largely undervalued the risk carried in their fixed income portfolios, and that the magnitude of that risk is substantially larger than what a portfolio of hedge funds may carry, when in fact each stock market crash has shown that hedge funds act as a useful diversifier in an institutional portfolio.

The 2011 Opalesque France Roundtable – sponsored by Lyxor and Custom House Group – took place in July at the Lyxor office in Paris with:

• Anne-Sophie d'Andlau, Managing Partner, Co-Founder, CIAM
• Patrice Bergé-Vincent, Director of Regulation Policy and International Affairs, Autorité des marchés financiers - Asset Management Regulation Division (AMF)
• Alain Dubois, Chairman, Lyxor Asset Management.
• Pierre Lenders, Chief Executive Officer, HDF
• Michel Boiron, CIO and Co-Founder, Numbers
• Philippe Paquet, Managing Director, NewAlpha Asset Management
• Reza Ghodsi, Managing Partner and Founder, Darius Capital Partners
• Nathanael Benzaken, Managing Director, Lyxor Asset Management
• David Lenfant, Managing Partner, Laffitte Capital Management

In addition, read:

• From which regions and countries do France-based managers raise most of their assets and why French retirement schemes or mutual insurance groups are still cautious about hedge funds
• Why long-term investors should always favor transparency over liquidity
• Why French regulations offer the best investor protection in Europe
• What AIFM means for offshore hedge funds who from July 2015 onwards will have to apply all the directive provisions if they wish to market to professional investors in Europe
• How to get an extra net return of 6% per annum on top of a hedge fund's net portfolio returns
• The case for dividing the UCITS framework between simple and complex UCITS and why UCITS will make it easier for investors to rank managers.

About the Opalesque Roundtable Series:

The Opalesque Roundtable Series highlights fundamental developments within the global hedge fund industry, a full archive with over 50 Roundtable scripts can be accessed here: http://www.opalesque.com/index.php?act=archiveRT.

Matthias Knab, founder of Opalesque and internationally recognized expert on hedge funds and alternatives, moderates the Opalesque Roundtables.

PO Box 649
New York, NY 10028

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