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Robert Leonard

Robert Leonard is a partner in the Hedge Funds Group. For more than 30 years Rob has been structuring, organizing and representing hedge funds, funds of funds and other private investment funds (both domestic and offshore), family offices, institutional investors and investment advisers.

He has structured and organized numerous master-feeder, side-by-side and mini-master-feeder funds for hedge fund managers engaged in myriad strategies, including long/short equity, multi-strat, credit, distressed credit, mortgage-backed securities, risk arb, emerging markets, global macro, stat arb, relative value, event driven and direct lending.

Rob has advised managers on seed deals, founder’s classes, funds of one and placement agreements and develops innovative ways of building asset bases. He also has worked with managers on bringing in and retaining talent through structuring employment, “phantom” equity and true equity arrangements.

Rob has handled a variety of regulatory and other compliance matters, including registrations with the SEC, CFTC and state regulators, filing Form PF and filings with the Treasury Department and Bureau of Economic Analysis. In addition, he works on SEC and other regulatory examinations and investigations, as well as investor and third-party actions. Rob is also recognized as a national leader on alternative data where he counsels clients on due diligence on data providers, risk assessment and document negotiation.

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MNPI Update – SEC Pursues “Shadow Trading” Insider Trading Case

The SEC recently charged a former employee of a biopharmaceutical company with insider trading in advance of an acquisition but with a unique twist: Trading the securities of a company unrelated to the merger. The employee, Matthew Panuwat, did not trade his own company’s or the acquiring company’s securities, but instead purchased stock options for … Continue Reading

OCIE Issues Risk Alert on Common Deficiencies Observed in Adviser Compliance Programs

On November 19, 2020, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations published a risk alert providing an overview of notable compliance issues observed in registered investment advisers’ compliance programs.  The alert will serve as a useful checklist for advisers seeking to identify weaknesses in their own compliance programs and preparing for the inevitable SEC … Continue Reading

SEC Releases Risk Alert Identifying Common Private Equity and Hedge Fund Compliance Deficiencies

On June 23rd, the staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations issued a new risk alert entitled “Observations from Examinations of Investment Advisers Managing Private Funds.” As discussed in the client alert below, the report highlights many practices which have been the subject of SEC enforcement actions with … Continue Reading

OCIE Publishes Cybersecurity and Resiliency Observations

On January 27, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) published its Cybersecurity and Resiliency Observations. Cybersecurity and data protection for market participants have been key focuses of OCIE for several years. These observations provide useful insights into OCIE’s examination priorities in these areas. OCIE compiled these observations … Continue Reading

SEC Staff Issues Risk Alert on the Six Most Frequent Fee and Expense Compliance Issues

On April 12, 2018, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations issued a risk alert listing the most common compliance issues concerning fees and expenses charged by SEC-registered investment advisers.  Advisers should review their practices, policies and procedures to ensure compliance with their advisory agreements and representations to clients in light of the fee … Continue Reading

U.S. House Bill Aims to Curtail SEC Staff’s Ability to Obtain Algorithmic Trading Source Code

On October 4, 2017, U.S. Representative Sean P. Duffy [R-WI-7] introduced U.S. House of Representatives Bill H.R.3948 entitled the “Protection of Source Code Act.” If enacted, the Bill would amend the Securities Act, the Securities Exchange Act, the Investment Company Act and the Investment Advisers Act to prohibit the SEC staff from obtaining algorithmic trading … Continue Reading

Best Practices for Fund Managers to Mitigate Big Data and Web Scraping Risks

Proskauer partners Jeff Neuburger, Robert Leonard, Josh Newville and Jonathan Richman recently invited hedge fund executives to discuss the complex regulatory and compliance issues raised by the use of alternative data.   Jeff, Robert and Josh also contributed an article to the Hedge Fund Law Report on Best Practices for Private Fund Advisers to Manage the Risks of … 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

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

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

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
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