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Proskauer on Private Fund Litigation

Category Archives: Disputes

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Energy Transition: A New Risk Climate for Investors

Go to any private equity event in the last 12 months, and “energy transition” will have been discussed, meaning the shift in energy production away from fossil‑based systems to low or zero carbon ones. As fund managers continue to raise funds focused on investments in this sector, we see no reason for this trend to … Continue Reading

Ripples Following the SPAC Wave: Litigation and Regulatory Risks

It’s a pattern we often see in boom-and-bust cycles—disputes rising in the period after a wave crests. SPAC deal volume hit an unprecedented high in 2021, but then slowed down in 2022 alongside IPOs. However, the fallout from the SPAC wave will continue to unfold this year, generating increased regulatory attention and a growing number of … Continue Reading

Messaging Missteps: SEC’s Increasing Focus on Off-Channel Communications

The SEC’s Enforcement Division is conducting a sweep investigation of large investment advisers regarding their employees’ use of “off-channel” communications.  The sweep, which has been widely reported in the press, focuses on text messages from personal phones, personal email, WhatsApp and other platforms not typically captured or monitored by advisers.  The sweep is causing considerable … Continue Reading

SEC Overreach: Insurers Underwrite?

Implications of SEC attempt to curb indemnification for private fund managers The SEC spent 2022 making multiple and sweeping proposals to amend rules under the Advisers Act, many of which have the ability to significantly re-shape market standards for private funds.  Here, we focus on the SEC’s proposal to undo a common protection for private … Continue Reading

The New Reality: Valuation in a Volatile Market

Amid rising interest rates, tightening credit markets, geopolitical concerns in Europe and Asia, stubborn inflation and continuing supply chain issues, there is a growing sense of economic uncertainty.  This uncertainty will no doubt increase the frequency of valuation disputes in the year ahead. We generally see valuation disputes spring from four primary sources: Valuation disputes … Continue Reading

The SBF Superseder: A Second Bite at the Scienter Apple

Following the collapse of FTX and the civil and criminal enforcement actions arising from FTX’s and its founder’s alleged misconduct, partners Bill Komaroff and Seetha Ramachandran offer their reactions to the superseding indictment of Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) obtained on March 27, 2023 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). Read the … Continue Reading

Crypto Contagion – Managing Risk on Multiple Fronts

Crypto firm bankruptcies and resulting disruption in the crypto ecosystem will continue to exacerbate liquidity and regulatory concerns in this space. Signs of contagion are evident as prices of almost every cryptocurrency type have halved in recent months.  Since all participants supporting the crypto ecosystem are at risk, managing that risk is critical.… Continue Reading

Portfolio Companies in Distress: Navigating the Risks from SVB and Other Threats to Liquidity and Solvency

Everything, everywhere, all at once is our risk thesis for 2023, but one must not forget about concentration risk.  This issue has rocketed up diligence agendas for LPs and GPs alike as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank proved it really was the bank for venture capital.The entry of SVB into receivership on March 10, 2023 highlighted just … Continue Reading

Top Ten Regulatory and Litigation Risks for Private Funds in 2023

Everything, everywhere, all at once, as a descriptor, captures the litigation and regulatory risks for the asset management industry in 2023. Every corner of the market faces greater risks than at any time since 2008. After years of breakneck growth fueled by low interest rates and a largely laissez faire regulatory regime, significant change is … Continue Reading

Current Issues Relating to Silicon Valley Bank Closure

On Friday, March 10, 2023, Silicon Valley Bank (“SVB”) became the largest U.S. lender since the Great Financial Crisis to enter into receivership with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. SVB was a major provider of depository services and liquidity to various investment funds, managers and their related entities through subscription or capital call facilities, net … Continue Reading

SBF Prosecution Raises Novel Issues for Asset Forfeiture and Victim Restitution

The crimes charged against SBF are simple — old-fashioned fraud through a Ponzi scheme.  His conviction seems inevitable. For the government, the challenging part of this case will be the forfeiture proceedings.  Under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (MVRA), federal prosecutors have an affirmative obligation to use their “best efforts” to see that crime victims are … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

Increased Regulatory Focus on Privacy and Cybersecurity for Private Funds in 2022

2021 continued the trend of increased regulatory focus on privacy and cybersecurity for private investment funds in the U.S. and abroad. There are no signs of the trend leveling off any time soon. One of the topics that captured our attention last year was the rise of ransomware. As previously shared, ransomware has evolved from … Continue Reading

Regulatory Shake-Out on Digital Assets: An Industry Waits for Additional Guidance

A threshold question in many cryptocurrency inquiries is whether the digital assets qualify as securities under the federal securities laws. If so, then they are subject to a full suite of federal securities regulations. If not, they still may be subject to AML and other DOJ regulations regarding currencies, as well as the Commodity Futures … Continue Reading

ESG: Practical Points For Where Market Practice and Legal Trends Collide

If 2021 was the year in which regulators and investors enthusiastically embraced environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) considerations, by creating new legal and regulatory frameworks, then 2022 will be the year for asset managers to identify and confront the practical challenges of integrating legal requirements and stakeholder expectations into investment policy and performance.… Continue Reading

Treating “Like for Like”: SPAC Disclosure, Marketing and Gatekeeping in 2022

We reported last year that unprecedented SPAC deal volume signaled an increased risk for disputes given their unique structure, including risks associated with disclosure requirements, material non-public information, valuation, and conflicts of interest. Our assessment proved prescient, as the SEC began to flex its enforcement muscles vis-à-vis SPACs as the year progressed, and took specific … Continue Reading

SEC Proposes Advisers Act Reforms Focusing on Private Fund Investor Protections

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 that would have notable practical implications for private fund advisers, in many cases regardless of the adviser’s registration status. The Proposed Rules include prohibitions or mandates regarding … Continue Reading

Decentralized Finance: The Next Frontier of SEC Enforcement

The SEC’s push to regulate the next generation of blockchain-based applications will likely give rise to disputes and enforcement actions, particularly in the developing decentralized finance (DeFi) space. Although DeFi has the potential to enhance or replace traditional financial products by speeding execution and reducing transaction costs using blockchain technology, the SEC presumes that actors … Continue Reading

Top Ten Regulatory and Litigation Risks for Private Funds in 2022

Last year, we wrote, “The regulatory and litigation risks for private funds are greater than at any time since the financial crisis in 2008.” That statement is even more true today. The Wall Street Journal recently published separate front-page stories on an SEC initiative to oversee large private companies and the explosive growth of the private … Continue Reading

California District Court Upholds SEC’s Novel “Shadow Trading” Theory

The SEC prevailed on a motion to dismiss a closely watched lawsuit alleging that a company employee had engaged in insider trading based on news about a not-yet-public corporate acquisition when he purchased securities of a third-party company that was not involved in the deal. The January 14, 2022 decision in SEC v. Panuwat (N.D. … Continue Reading

New in the World of SPACs: Arks, Sharks and SPARCs

Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have been one of the success stories of recent years. They have attracted huge volumes of investment as professional and retail parties invest through an initial public offering (IPO) in a ‘cash shell’ company with a mandate to find a suitable unlisted acquisition target. The company then typically merges (often … Continue Reading

Looking Ahead: Top Litigation and Regulatory Risks for Fund Managers Right Now (Webinar)

The regulatory and litigation risks for private funds are greater than at any time since the financial crisis in 2008. From the continued proliferation of digital assets and cryptocurrencies, to the unprecedented activity in SPACs (many of which are merging with PE-backed portfolio companies), to the increased focus on ESG under the Biden Administration, new … Continue Reading

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
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