Hedge funds plan comms offensive

The UK's hedge fund industry has brought in agency help to spearhead its fight against restrictive UK legislation.

Excited: Hanover's Lewington
Excited: Hanover's Lewington

The trade body for the much-maligned industry, the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), has handed its UK public affairs account to Hanover Communications after a competitive pitch that involved six agencies.

The appointment comes at a critical time. This week the hedge fund industry persuaded the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to let its ban on the short-selling of shares expire on 16 January.

The ban, which came into force in the wake of the banking crisis last autumn, was fiercely criticised by the industry, which insisted that responsible short-selling was a legitimate practice.

Christen Thomson, director of communications at AIMA, said: ‘The short-selling ban hurt the industry because it was perceived that we were to blame for the crisis. That was a very damaging perception and there was widespread recognition that the industry needed to present its message more effectively.’

Hanover will liaise with political and regulatory stakeholders to promote the industry’s views following the banking crisis. The Treasury select committee is considering industry issues and the FSA has yet to reach a conclusion on short-selling and related disclosures.

Hanover managing director Charles Lewington said: ‘One of AIMA’s main objectives in 2009 is to actively cooperate with policymakers and regulators to facilitate the development of policy and any new supervisory framework for the industry. We are excited to be helping them to achieve this target.’

AIMA will continue to use Hume Brophy for general communications work.

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