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Category Archives: Compliance

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SEC Speaks: 2017 Enforcement and Exam Trends for Private Funds

At the recent SEC Speaks program, sponsored by PLI, senior SEC staff members provided valuable insight into the SEC’s 2017 priorities for private funds.  While the tenor of this year’s discussion seemed to focus more on retail investors, the staff discussed several topics that private fund advisers should keep in mind from both an enforcement … Continue Reading

The Top Ten Regulatory and Litigation Risks for Private Funds in 2017

Private investment funds and advisers are likely to face new regulatory challenges and increased litigation risks in 2017, not only because of a change in the administration, but also because many advisers have not corrected and aligned past practices with current regulatory guidance.  In this post, we have highlighted ten areas that should be on … Continue Reading

SEC Staff Announces 2017 OCIE Examination Priorities

On January 12, 2017, the staff of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released its annual announcement on examination priorities in the coming calendar year. The 2017 examination priorities are organized around three thematic areas: (i) examining matters of importance to retail investors; (ii) focusing on risks … Continue Reading

Outgoing SEC Chair Reflects on the Agency’s Enforcement Program and Advocates for Increased Authority

On November 18, 2016, outgoing SEC Chair Mary Jo White delivered a speech at New York University School of Law entitled “A New Model for SEC Enforcement: Producing Bold and Unrelenting Results.”  Chair White’s remarks covered a broad range of enforcement initiatives and outcomes from her tenure as SEC Chair.  This post summarizes the aspects … Continue Reading

SEC Shake-Up: President-Elect Trump Expected to Make Key Appointments

In the wake of the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, Mary Jo White has announced her intent to step down from her role as Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Chair White, the 31st and one of the longest-serving Chairs of the SEC, will be leaving her … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Alert – OCIE to Examine Registered Investment Advisers for Overbroad Confidentiality or Severance Agreements

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) recently published a risk alert noting that the SEC exam staff intends to examine registrants’ compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower provisions.  OCIE intends to examine registered advisers for compliance, in light of recent enforcement cases the SEC has filed based on violations of the Dodd-Frank … Continue Reading

OCIE By the Numbers and the Use of Big Data

On October 17, 2016, Marc Wyatt, the Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance, Inspection and Examinations, gave a keynote address to the National Society of Compliance Professionals titled: Inside the National Exam Program in 2016.  In addition to discussing his general perspective concerning the program, he provided some key statistics that help put OCIE’s … Continue Reading

Fund Restructurings: How to Navigate a Conflict-Rich Environment

The number of private equity fund restructurings is likely to rise in the coming years.  The current economic expansion will inevitably come to an end (at 87 months and counting, this expansion is already the third longest post-WWII) making exits more challenging, just as the terms expire on funds raised during the “golden era” (2003-2007). … Continue Reading

SEC Announces Record Number of Investment Adviser Cases for FY 2016

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced its enforcement results for fiscal year 2016, reaching new highs in the number of actions filed and money ordered forfeited through disgorgement and penalties.  The SEC noted that it brought the most ever cases involving investment advisers or investment companies, including 8 enforcement actions related to private equity advisers, an area … Continue Reading

Private Fund Advisers Must Pay Close Attention to Nuances under Pay-to-Play Restrictions in Light of Upcoming Elections Nationwide

As the elections approach nationwide, advisers to private investment funds with current or prospective state or local government entity investors should be mindful of political activities by their personnel which could raise concerns under existing pay-to-play regulations. While seemingly straightforward in application, the SEC’s pay-to-play regulations have the potential to present a number of complex … Continue Reading

Putting a Premium on Illiquidity: Some Reflections on the SEC’s Scrutiny of Valuation Practices and Disclosures

Valuation is typically near the top of the list when the SEC’s enforcement division and exam staff disclose their priority topics for private funds.  We expect that trend to continue and, if anything, the focus on valuation is likely to increase, especially as the market for unicorns shakes out. That said, the SEC rarely challenges … Continue Reading

SEC Whistleblower Settlement Reminds Fund Sponsors to Review Organizational Policies and Procedures

A recent SEC settlement of whistleblower charges should serve as a useful reminder for private fund sponsors to conduct a comprehensive review of their policies and procedures. On August 10, 2016, the SEC announced that BlueLinx Holdings Inc., an Atlanta-based building products distributor, had settled charges that it violated securities laws by using severance agreements … Continue Reading

Defend Trade Secrets Act – Implications for Private Funds

On May 11, 2016, the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) became law.  The DTSA provides trade-secret protections on the federal level that are similar to those available through the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) adopted (with variations) in 48 States.  The DTSA will have at least three effects upon private funds, particularly those with … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Concerns for Private Fund Advisers – Seven Mistakes To Avoid

As we have previously observed, private fund advisers face a difficult challenge when SEC guidance (in the form of a speech or a public enforcement order) indicates that certain long-standing practices may be contrary to the securities laws. What does an adviser do when its past practices appear, in hindsight, to have fallen short? While … Continue Reading

SEC Adopts Higher Net Worth Threshold for Qualified Clients under the Advisers Act

In an order dated June 14, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted its prior proposal to increase the net worth threshold for “qualified clients” under Rule 205-3 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the Advisers Act) from $2 million to $2.1 million. This adjustment is being made pursuant to a five-year indexing … Continue Reading

Webcast: The New Regulatory Landscape for Financial Institutions

Is your organization equipped to stay on top of regulator demands?  Join Proskauer’s Tim Mungovan, co-head of the Private Equity & Hedge Fund Litigation Group, and Marsh’s FINPRO U.S. Chief Innovation Officer Machua Millett on June 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET for a webinar on the new regulatory landscape for financial institutions. The webcast will … Continue Reading

SEC Announces Settlement with Adviser Found to Have Acted as an Unregistered Broker

The SEC is continuing its pattern of establishing “standards of conduct” for the private equity industry through speeches, enforcement actions, and public settlements. After foreshadowing its concerns in various speeches over the last three years, the SEC recently returned its attention to the “unregistered broker” issue.  In a settlement announced last week, the SEC asserted … Continue Reading

Application of the Joint Proposed Incentive Compensation Rule to Investment Advisers

On May 16, 2016, six federal agencies issued a joint release inviting public comment on a proposed rule to prohibit or condition certain incentive-based compensation arrangements. This proposed rule was mandated by section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) and is a revision of the proposed rule the agencies … Continue Reading

SEC Proposes Higher Net Worth Threshold for Qualified Clients under the Advisers Act

On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed to increase the net worth threshold for qualified clients from $2 million to $2.1 million.  This proposed adjustment is being made pursuant to a five-year indexing adjustment required by §205(e) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the Advisers Act), as amended … Continue Reading

Theranos, the SEC’s Pursuit of Unicorns, and Taking the Reins of Internal Controls

In the wake of a host of negative developments, Theranos Inc. is reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The SEC and DOJ inquiries are likely to focus on whether Theranos misled investors about the state of its technology and operations.  Even beyond potential misrepresentation issues, we believe … Continue Reading

Regulatory Compliance Association’s Enforcement, Compliance & Operations (ECO) 2016 Symposium

Partners Timothy W. Mungovan (co-head of Private Equity & Hedge Fund Litigation Group) and Christopher M. Wells (head of Hedge Funds Group)  have been invited to join a large collection of senior regulators at the Regulatory Compliance Association’s Enforcement, Compliance & Operations (ECO) 2016 Symposium.  The conference will take place on Tuesday May 17 at … Continue Reading

SEC Enforcement’s Increased Focus on Private Equity

On May 12, 2016, SEC Director of Enforcement Andrew Ceresney gave a keynote address on Private Equity Enforcement.  Ceresney reiterated the SEC’s view that private equity is a key area for enforcement, and that recent actions show that it is particularly focused on undisclosed fees and expenses and increasing transparency in the industry.  Ceresney also … Continue Reading

Unicorns Under Scrutiny: The SEC Previews Its “Long Arm” Of The Law

As we previously discussed, SEC Chair Mary Jo White recently delivered the keynote address at the Silicon Valley Initiative hosted by the SEC-Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University.   While the speech and its focus on unicorns attracted some initial media attention, the subsequent response has been surprisingly muted given that Chair White provided … Continue Reading

A Commonsense Explanation of the SEC’s Regulation of Private Investment Funds

The SEC’s regulation of the private investment funds industry has generated significant attention and commentary, as well as a fair amount of hand-wringing.  From our perspective as lawyers, however, there is a relatively commonsense explanation for the SEC’s approach.  Rather than acting with a heavy-hand by imposing a comprehensive set of “regulations,” the SEC is … Continue Reading
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