Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Italian Finance Minister Calls to Abolish Hedge Funds

The Italians at Via Quadronno may have to start showing up at work a little earlier (see previous post)! Global Pensions UK (weird source, I know, but a bunch of others are reporting it, too) reports that Italian Finance Minister Minister Giulio Tremonti is calling for the end of hedge funds, calling the massive, privately-held (well, kinda) investment pools "insane."
"Speaking to Italian media at the G8 meeting in Washington last Saturday, he said hedge funds were unlike other players in the financial industry because they escaped control by the authorities, as well as media and public opinion screening. He concluded they were opaque instruments, which constituted a normative problem."
This would be dumb. Lots of people have stakes in hedge funds, not just wealthy individuals. Pensions, foundations, schools. And they're not responsible for this mess. Low interest rates and the securitization of mortgages are.