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Category Archives: Private Equity

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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

Cyber Attack Protection Steps for Investment Firms

We are reaching out to our investment firm clients to advise them of an email “spear phishing” scam that has targeted investment firms recently, attempting to lure their personnel into inadvertently revealing their email account credentials to criminal fraudsters, and making wire transfers to the criminal’s account instead of the intended account. There has been … Continue Reading

SEC Announces 2017 Compliance Outreach Program Seminars for Investment Companies and Investment Advisers

On Thursday, March 23rd, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the opening of registration for its compliance outreach program seminars for investment companies and investment advisers.  The seminars will be offered in four U.S. cities and are intended to help Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) and other senior personnel enhance compliance programs at investment companies and … 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

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

Six Reasons Why a Wholesale Repeal of Dodd-Frank is Unlikely

In the days following the November elections, U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump promised that his Financial Services Policy Implementation team would be working to “dismantle” the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”). However, a more recent account in the Wall Street Journal reported Mr. Trump’s transition team as tempering his promise in … 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
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