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Category Archives: Disputes

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Veil Piercing/Alter Ego Determinations – How Fund Managers Can Protect Themselves

A veil piercing claim can be a worst-case scenario for a private fund manager dealing with a struggling portfolio company investment – the company fails, and ensuing legal claims are brought not only against the portfolio company, but also against the fund and its GPs. How can fund managers manage that risk? Limited liability is … Continue Reading

Snap Judgment: Unicorns Under Pressure and Addressing Risks of Private Lawsuits

The recent IPOs of Snap, Inc. and Blue Apron indicate that while the IPO pipeline continues to flow, there may be a cautionary tale for “unicorns” – venture-backed companies with estimated valuations in excess of $1 billion. After Snap went public in March, it posted a $2.2 billion loss in its first quarter, yielding a … Continue Reading

Valuation of Illiquid Portfolio Investments – Avoiding Regulatory Risks with Form and Substance

For private fund managers, the valuation of privately-held securities has been subject to heightened regulatory scrutiny. As the IPO on-ramp for private “unicorn” investments has lengthened, fund managers may hold illiquid investments for longer-than-expected time periods—and valuation-related risks increase as the time lengthens between purchase and exit.  This is the second of two blog posts … Continue Reading

Reported Criminal Probes Regarding Bond Valuations Highlight the Importance of Valuation Procedures

According to recent news reports, the DOJ and the SEC are investigating the possible improper use of third-party broker quotes by hedge fund managers to value illiquid debt securities in their portfolios. Prosecutors are reportedly focused on possible instances where fund managers allegedly solicited predetermined or improper quotes from brokers, and used those estimates to … Continue Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portfolio Company Litigation: Some Practical Considerations for Board-Designees of Private Funds

Individuals affiliated with private fund managers are increasingly being named as defendants in lawsuits involving fund portfolio companies, particularly where the fund controls one or more seats on the portfolio company’s board, or where an individual affiliated with the fund sponsor serves as a senior executive at the portfolio company. When an individual affiliated with … 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

Sun Capital Court Finds Co-Investing Funds Part of Controlled Group and Liable for Portfolio Company’s Pension Liabilities

A recent decision by a Massachusetts federal court judge could expand liability for co-investing private funds.  On remand from the First Circuit, the District Court in Sun Capital Partners III, LP v. New England Teamsters and Trucking Industry Pension Fund held that co-investing funds were part of a portfolio company’s “controlled group” and therefore potentially … Continue Reading

2016 Hot Topics for Private Fund Sponsors

This year, private investment funds are likely to face increased regulatory scrutiny and litigation risk. This is due to several market developments, including transparency and compliance initiatives of limited partners. There are several areas that should be on every private fund sponsor’s list. Fees and expenses will continue to be a top priority for the … Continue Reading

SEC Action Highlights Importance of Proper Expense Apportionment

In November 2015, the SEC announced that it had reached a settlement with Cherokee Investment Partners, LLC and Cherokee Advisers, LLC, in connection with improperly allocating managers’ regulatory expenses to three funds they managed. Through this and similar actions, the SEC has clearly indicated the managers may assign to the funds they manage only those … Continue Reading

SEC Charges Private Equity Firm and Four Executives with Failing to Disclose Conflicts of Interest

On November 3, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it had reached a settlement with Fenway Partners, LLC, a New York-based private equity firm, and several of the firm’s executives (the Respondents) in connection with a failure to disclose conflicts of interests to investors with respect to payments made by portfolio companies of … Continue Reading

SEC Announces Cybersecurity Enforcement Action

On September 22, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the settlement of an enforcement action against a St. Louis-based registered investment adviser brought under Rule 30(a) of Regulation S-P (Safeguards Rule). The SEC Order charged the adviser with violating the Safeguards Rule by failing to adopt written cybersecurity policies and procedures reasonably designed … Continue Reading
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