The Capital Commitment

Proskauer on Private Equity Litigation

Category Archives: Compliance

Subscribe to Compliance RSS Feed

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

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

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 Speaks on Initial Coin Offerings: Tokens May Be Securities

Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) are generating attention from both investors and the SEC. Investors’ interest is indicated by the more than $1.2 billion that ICOs reportedly have raised so far this year.  Meanwhile, the SEC has recently asserted its authority in the space, releasing a report stating that digital tokens issued by ICO platform “The … 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

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

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
LexBlog