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13 Mar 2007

Union leaders to Develop International Response to Growth of Hedge Funds

Amid the spectacular growth of hedge funds investments, trade union leaders from more than 20 countries are to meet at OECD Headquarters in Paris on the 16 March to discuss the impact of hedge funds on employees’ job security and pensions.

In recent weeks the unions have had concerns about the employment impact of buy-outs and questions about hedge fund transparency, corporate governance and sustainability.

Concerns have also been raised at the increasing amounts of pension fund money being invested in private equity and in hedge funds and the working women and men whose employment, rights and working conditions may be threatened by the behavior of these funds.

"We are looking at the feasibility of an international response that includes information and consultation rights for workers and appropriate regulation and taxation by governments." said John Evans, General Secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, co-organizers of the event.

TUAC said in a press release, "Union concern has mounted at the employment impact of buyouts by what are often shadowy investors using borrowed money. Concerns have also been raised at the increasing amounts of pension fund money being invested in private equity and in hedge funds."

Speakers will include experts from the OECD as well as John Monks, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation and Ron Blackwell, Chief Economist of the American Trade Union Center, the AFL-CIO. The TUAC represents 66 million workers in 56 affiliated trade union organizations in the 30 OECD member countries.

Activist Hedge Fund To Sell Stocks in Gartmore

Activist hedge fund Carrousel Capital had agreed to sell its shares in £386 million ($744.8 million) Gartmore European Investment Trust, refusing the option of a tender offer to close out its position at a tight discount. The hedge fund currently owns 28.03% of Gartmore and is its biggest shareholder.

Carrousel Capital said in informal talks with Gartmore that the hedge fund had plans to buy into the trust, then restructure it into an umbrella fund which could offer a range of investment mandates. However, Gartmore's European shareholders voted against proposals by Carrousel to put three new directors on the board to carry out the plan.

Bruno Sanglé-Ferrière, CEO of Carrousel said in a letter to shareholders, "Carrousel is not seeking, and has never sought, control of the fund. Neither is it seeking to wind-up the fund as has been suggested in some quarters. Carrousel's interest in the fund has already had a beneficial effect. Shareholders have seen the NAV discount narrow from 9% to less than 3% since we invested."

However, after the vote to sell the hedge fund's entire holding he said, "It's not a change of strategy. We tried to put people on the board and we failed. We want to put that behind us and close that chapter."