Venture ventriloquists

How investment fund lobbyists used SMEs as a front to lobby MEPs

In the battle over the regulation of hedge funds and private equity funds currently taking place in Brussels, hundreds of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) surprisingly spoke out in April in support of the financial lobby’s attempt to stave off regulation. But behind the scenes, a lobby organisation, the European Venture Capital Association – representing large and controversial investment funds was pulling the strings.

This is one of the stories from the lobbying battle over regulation of ‘alternative investment funds’, including hedge funds and private equity funds. The financial lobby’s objective is to weaken and scale down the first real attempt to regulate the investment funds at the EU level – the so-called Alternative Investments Fund Managers Directive, currently under consideration in the European Parliament and the European Council. Among the many initiatives triggered in response to the directive proposal, a letter sent to MEPs signed by hundreds of SMEs has gained prominence. In reality, the lobby organisation for venture capital and private equity funds was behind the move.

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