The Capital Commitment

Proskauer on Private Fund Litigation

2022 SEC Enforcement Results – Takeaways for Fund Managers

Yesterday the SEC’s Division of Enforcement announced its Enforcement Results for Fiscal Year 2022, and there are a few key takeaways for fund managers.

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In The Zone? When Directors of Portfolio Companies Have to Take Creditor Interests into Account

Representatives of asset managers often take up positions on the boards of portfolio companies. We have written posts before on some of the litigation and regulatory risks that can arise, both for the asset managers and the individuals including: Portfolio Company Risk: Plaintiffs Set Sights on Sponsors and Board Directors, The Trend of Increasing Disclosure Obligations for Private Funds Continues in 2022, SEC Proposes Advisers Act Reforms Focusing on Private Fund Investor Protections.

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Keeping Up With Kim Kardashian’s SEC Charges

The SEC spread its reach to Hollywood this month – on October 3, 2022, the SEC announced charges against Kim Kardashian for her social media promotions of EMAX, a digital token issued by EthereumMax. The SEC found that Kardashian violated the anti-touting provision of the federal securities laws by failing to disclose the $250,000 payment she received for the ad.

Read the full post on the Corporate Defense and Disputes blog.

SEC Proposes ESG Reporting and Disclosure Requirements for Private Fund Advisers

On May 25, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued proposed rules under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 for advisers to private funds that consider environmental, social or governance factors (“ESG”) as part of one or more significant investment strategies. The proposed rules would require advisers employing ESG strategies to report additional information about those strategies to the SEC and provide additional, more detailed disclosure to clients.

For details on who these new rules would apply to and how, read the full client alert here.

Portfolio Company Risk: Plaintiffs Set Sights on Sponsors and Board Directors

As our other Top Ten posts have demonstrated, there is no shortage of risks for private fund sponsors to navigate in today’s economic and regulatory environment. Nevertheless, they need to prioritize the risk that hits closest to home – lawsuits by private litigants seeking to pull sponsors, their funds, and their board director designees into litigation. These suits most frequently arise out of portfolio companies and most notably sale, business combination, or other liquidity or change of control events at a fund’s portfolio company. We have seen a considerable uptick in these types of lawsuits over the last several years, and we expect the trend to continue – and likely accelerate.      Continue Reading

SEC Reopens Comment Period for Proposed Private Fund Adviser Rules

On May 9th, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it will reopen the public comment period on its proposed rules relating to private fund advisers. The comment period will now remain open until 30 days after the publication of this announcement in the Federal Register.

For more details on this timely announcement, please read the full article here.

SEC Risk Alert Highlights Renewed Focus on Insider Trading and MNPI Policies and Procedures for Fund Managers

Last month, we predicted that a renewed focus by the SEC on insider trading, MNPI and related internal controls would be one of the Top Ten Regulatory and Litigation Risks for Private Funds in 2022. Last week, the SEC’s Division of Examinations (“EXAMS”) issued a timely risk alert relating to Investment Adviser Material Non-Public Information (MNPI) Compliance Issues.

The SEC’s EXAMS risk alert specifically highlighted a handful of common deficiencies noted under Section 204A of the Advisers Act and Rule 204A-1 under the Advisers Act (the “Code of Ethics Rule”).

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SEC to Hire More Staff in Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit and Ratchet Up Scrutiny of Industry

The SEC is expanding its team policing the crypto space by adding enforcement staff to its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit.  We previously noted that regulatory focus on new technologies in the decentralized finance space and further developments on the application of securities laws to digital assets were two of our top ten regulatory developments for asset managers this year.  This post highlights what these developments may mean for fund managers in this space.

Read the full post on our Blockchain and the Law blog.

The Bottom Line of the SEC Proposed Private Fund Rules

On February 9, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) proposed new rules and amendments to existing rules under the U.S. Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended, that would have notable practical implications for private funds advisers, in many cases regardless of the adviser’s registration status. At a high level, the proposed rules include significant requirements and restrictions for private fund advisers pertaining to, among other things: quarterly statements to investors, adviser-led secondaries transactions and prohibitions on certain adviser practices and activities. Recently, Proskauer hosted a two-part series on the Bottom Line exploring the issues raised by these proposals.

To supplement this series, we have presented a collection of questions and answers further exploring some of the issues.

Download the Q&A here.

Conflicts of Interest: How High Will the Bar be Raised?

The SEC last month proposed rules under the Advisers Act indicating a dramatic shift in how the SEC intends to reduce conflicts of interest involving private fund managers and their investors. As we previously noted in the context of increased disclosure obligations, the SEC’s recent approach previews a sea change redefining the relationship between private fund managers and their investors. For decades, the SEC has sought to address potential conflicts through a combination of disclosure and informed consent, in light of the sophisticated nature of private fund limited partners. However, the SEC’s proposal now pivots from that approach, concluding that certain fund manager practices are inherently conflicted and therefore in some cases necessitate that the fund manager undertake specific actions, or in other cases must be flatly prohibited. As the SEC put it in their Proposing Release, “We have observed certain industry practices over the past decade that have persisted despite our enforcement actions and that disclosure alone will not adequately address.” Continue Reading

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