The good news is that hedge funds are finally hiring again. The iffy news, depending on your perspective, is that they are hiring a number of former SEC officials. And they aren't hiring mid-level guys for their risk management experience. Hedge funds are hiring top-level former regulators, possibly revealing their concerns about greater hedge fund regulation, oversight, and taxation. Surely hedge fund manager John Paulson's recent decision to hire Harvey Pitt, a former SEC Chairman, as an outside director was intended to get him some lobbying clout. Earlier in 2010, hedge fund Millennium Management hired two former SEC Commissioners.
The recent hires of high-profile former regulators raises a host of questions. Is Capitol Hill prepared to take on the financial industry or are they waiting for that chance at a cushy job crusading for multi-billion dollar funds? Are hedge funds hiring these experienced regulators for their ability to guide the firm as new regulations are enacted or are they being hired for their ability to influence the outcome of regulations themselves? Should the SEC, as suggested by Senator Ted Kaufman (D-Delaware), ban senior officials from taking jobs at companies they recently oversaw?