For years the Securities and Exchange Commission has fought to force the registration of hedge funds, private pools of (usually wealthy people's) money that have taken on an increasingly important role in capital markets and the broader economy. The bills in both houses of Congress would make registration a reality, requiring hedge funds of a certain size to provide information about who they are and what securities they hold.
The goal of tracking this previously unmonitored part of the investing universe is to be able to better analyze when risky activity is building up in the system as a whole. How good regulators will be at doing that, though, is a legitimate question, considering that hedge funds can trade very quickly and that regulators didn't stand in the way when other signs of systemic risk, like leverage at investment banks, were obvious.
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