HFs Get A Lashing At Senate Hearing

Hedge funds took it on the chin at a Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.

Hedge funds took it on the chin at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled, “Hedge Funds and Independent Analysts: How Independent Are Their Relationships?” Attorney Marc Kasowitz of New York law firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman lashed out at hedge funds for conjuring up “a strikingly simple, but frighteningly destructive scheme” to manipulate the stock market. Testifying on behalf of several clients allegedly “severely harmed” by hedge funds’ alleged market manipulation, Kasowitz said he wasn’t attacking all hedge funds, but those responsible for the “truly shocking” experience of companies being “targets of a pattern of egregious collusion between certain influential hedge funds and analysts who engaged in schemes to manipulate the market and drive stock prices down.” Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal added that “[h]edge funds are a regulatory black hole – lacking even minimal disclosure and accountability,” and urged states to “fill the void if Congress fails to act,” now that the Securities and Exchange Commission HF registration rule has been thrown out. The issue’s newest media star, former SEC attorney Gary Aguirre, testified that the commission failed “to recognize any hedge fund fraud or manipulation against other market participants.” (Aguirre reportedly had to rewrite part of his testimony after the SEC had warned him some of his statements would have involved disclosing non-public investigation information.) Judiciary committee member Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) commented that he wasn’t looking for more regulation, just greater monitoring, saying, “Hedge funds are the wild west of our financial markets.”