The Capital Commitment

Proskauer on Private Equity Litigation

Michael R. Hackett

Michael R. Hackett

Associate

Michael R. Hackett is an associate in the Litigation Department and a member of the Private Equity & Hedge Fund Litigation practice. His practice focuses on disputes and regulation involving private investment funds, including private equity, venture capital, hedge, and real estate funds, as well as other limited partnerships, and regularly advises funds, fund sponsors, investment advisers, and institutional and individual investors.

Mike’s practice also encompasses a variety of complex commercial litigation and securities litigation matters for corporate and individual clients, most often in state and federal courts. Mike advises and represents public and private companies in areas including breach of contract, securities, financial services, corporate governance, fiduciary obligations, business torts, fraud and trade secrets, intellectual property, antitrust and government investigations.

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SEC Releases FY 2017 Enforcement Results: Maintaining Focus on Individual Accountability and Investment Advisers

Last night, the SEC announced its enforcement results for the Fiscal Year 2017, accompanied by a report from the Co-Directors of its Division of Enforcement.  While the total number of actions was down slightly from 2016, the percentage of those cases involving investment advisers or investment companies – 18% – remained consistent, and amounted to … Continue Reading

Pay-to-Play – SEC Expands Scope of Rule to CABs

The SEC’s pay-to-play rule has given advisers reason to worry about potential foot faults since its adoption. As we have noted in prior posts, the rule is filled with landmines and is therefore difficult to navigate.  As was evident from the SEC’s announcement of a series of settlements of alleged pay-to-play violations in early 2017, even … Continue Reading

SEC Flags the Top Six Advertising Rule Deficiencies for Investment Advisers

The SEC staff recently published an alert highlighting the most common deficiencies seen in investment advisers’ marketing materials.  Based on its recent examinations and initiatives, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued its risk alert to highlight compliance issues relating to Rule 206(4)-1 (the “Advertising Rule”).  Here are the top six: Misleading Performance … Continue Reading

SEC Chairman Identifies Guiding Principles

On July 12, 2017, newly appointed SEC Chairman Jay Clayton delivered a speech at the non-partisan Economic Club of New York wherein he set forth several high-level guiding principles for the agency.  In general, these remarks focused on (i) ensuring protections for retail investors, (ii) positioning the SEC as a regulator which is able 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Questions PE Sponsors Must Ask About Their GPL Policies

the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt the manual excerpt … Continue Reading

SEC Sets Compliance Date for Pay-to-Play Rule’s Ban on Third-Party Solicitation of Government Entities

On June 25, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) set a compliance date of July 31, 2015 for the ban on payments to third parties for the solicitation of advisory business from any government entity under Rule 206(4)-5 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (Pay-to-Play Rule). At the same time, the SEC also … Continue Reading

Don’t Get Burned by the “Sunshine:” Risk Factors for Venture Capital Firms in an Era of Increasing SEC Scrutiny

Andrew J. Bowden, the Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, gave a speech entitled “Spreading Sunshine in Private Equity” in May 2014. While sounding cheery, the “spreading sunshine” metaphor was an ironic evocation of Justice Brandeis’s famous statement that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants” in response to … Continue Reading
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