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France’s Moscovici defends shielding hedge funds from loan curbs

Reuters – France’s finance minister Pierre Moscovici defended on Tuesday a government plan to ringfence banks’ proprietary trading and leave hedge-fund financing intact, saying that hedge funds play a vital role in the French economy.

France’s proposed bank reforms, due to be debated in parliament later this month, would force banks to make proprietary trading a separate self-funded entity and ban them from owning or operating hedge funds.

Secured hedge-fund financing would be left intact.

Moscovici’s stance is at odds with French politicians’ traditional anti-free market rhetoric on both left and right. Socialist President Francois Hollande’s 2012 campaign speech blasted “speculative funds” as “vectors of instability”, while his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy called them “predators” in 2007.

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