Friday, January 30, 2009

Senators Bid to Regulate Hedge Funds

The New York Times - WASHINGTON — Two senior senators introduced legislation on Thursday to impose government oversight of hedge funds.

The legislation by Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, was filed as the Obama administration was preparing a broader legislative overhaul of the regulatory system, including an effort to more tightly regulate hedge funds.

State regulators and a panel created by Congress to oversee the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program issued separate but similar regulatory proposals on Thursday. The proposals also seemed to closely mirror many of the provisions that administration officials say will be part of their plan.

The regulatory overhaul is one piece of the administration’s effort to restore confidence in the financial system.

Other pieces include a stimulus bill that the House passed on Wednesday and that is moving through the Senate, and an overhaul of the financial assistance program for the nation’s largest banks.

Senior administration officials have been in discussions this week with Wall Street executives over proposals for managing the remaining $350 billion in the troubled assets program. A new plan is expected to be announced soon.

At the same time, the administration is preparing to propose tighter regulation of credit rating agencies, new federal oversight of mortgage brokers and greater supervision of credit-default swaps, the unregulated financial instruments that experts say contributed to the economic crisis.

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