The Capital Commitment

Proskauer on Private Fund Litigation

Misuse of Private Fund Assets Leads to SEC Enforcement and Industry Bar for Fund Manager

In a cautionary tale about the career-limiting risks of SEC sanctions, a private fund adviser and its owner were found to have misused over $1 million of fund assets, resulting in a bar from the investment industry as well as a civil penalty.

Monsoon Capital, LLC (Monsoon) is an SEC-registered investment adviser founded and owned by Gautam Prakash. Among Monsoon’s clients is Monsoon Infrastructure & Realty Co-Invest, L.P. (MIRC), a private fund focused on infrastructure investments in India. Continue Reading

Private Equity and Cybersecurity: Threats, Consequences, and the Regulatory Framework

Cybersecurity breaches and threats are pervasive concerns for any entity storing valuable data or managing large sums of money: private investment funds are no exception.  Recently three private equity firms suffered breaches that compromised their email accounts and wire transfers, resulting in $1.3 million in losses.  We have seen the SEC follow through on its 2019 priority of examining investment advisers about their cyber-security measures, as well as inquiring if they have suffered from a cyber-security breachWe expect that trend to continueFund sponsors should be aware of (1) the key cyber threats they face, (2) the consequences of a breach, and (3) the statutory and regulatory framework governing cybersecurity.  Fortunately, there are precautionary measures that fund sponsors can implement to help prevent a breach and to mitigate the scope and damage from a breach if one were to occur. We will elaborate on both the steps to take to guard against a breach and how to effectively respond to a breach in a forthcoming post.

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COVID-19: Heightened Potential for General Partner Clawbacks (and Disputes)?

We at The Capital Commitment blog have previously discussed several steps for fund managers and others to weather the storm brought by COVID-19.  One of those steps is assessing the likelihood of a carried interest return obligation under a fund agreement’s general partner clawback provision (and planning for how to mitigate those obligations, if necessary).  A recent article from our colleagues in Proskauer’s Private Funds group highlights the important role that general partner clawbacks play in ensuring the economic deal between a fund manager and the fund’s limited partners is protected, regardless of how market disruptions, such as those brought on by COVID-19, impact a fund’s portfolio. Continue Reading

Who Foots the Bill? SEC Cracks Down on Operating Partner Reimbursement Disclosures

The SEC has been active in the private equity space recently after being relatively quiet for some time. A recent enforcement action serves as a reminder for fund sponsors that regulators are continuing to look at fund sponsors’ practices relating to “operating partners,” particularly in the context of disclosures to limited partners. Continue Reading

Rear View Mirror: Criminal Exposure for Companies that Received PPP Loans Under the CARES Act

On April 28, 2020, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced that companies that received loans of more than $2 million through the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) of the CARES Act will be closely scrutinized. Mr. Mnuchin noted that the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) would audit the business to determine whether the certifications submitted in connection with the loan were truthful and accurate, and threatened that companies found to have made false certifications could face criminal consequences. Mr. Mnuchin’s announcement followed public outcry after reports surfaced that large, and even publicly-traded, companies received loans through the PPP. Against this backdrop, any company that received a loan through the PPP should be prepared to handle government requests for information as a potentially adversarial inquiry.

Read the full client alert here.

Fund Adviser Receives $1 Million Penalty For Alleged Performance Misstatements in Private Fund Marketing Material

Though SEC scrutiny of performance results in fund marketing materials is nothing new, a recent settlement order suggests that the Commission continues to closely examine representations in marketing materials with respect to past investment performance.

Old Ironsides Energy, LLC, a Boston-based registered investment adviser, agreed to pay a $1 million penalty to settle SEC charges alleging a material misstatement in its fund marketing materials. In particular, the adviser’s marketing materials allegedly “identified a large, legacy investment with strong, positive returns as an early stage direct drilling investment” (“DDI”) over which the adviser “had direct management in partnership with project operators, when it was actually an investment in a private fund advised by a third party.” Continue Reading

UK Measures to Address Covid-19

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has significant implications for the asset management industry globally, forcing both sponsors and investors to consider the immediate impact on their investments, and to re-prioritize both immediate and longer term issues.  In the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) issued a series of communications to firms to address the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. Despite complexities caused by COVID-19, the FCA warns in its recently published 2020/21 Business Plan that it will remain vigilant to potential misconduct and reminds firms that where it finds poor practice, “[it] will clamp down with all relevant force”. Continue Reading

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