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Category Archives: Disputes

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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

Bloomberg Law: White Collar Crime Investigation & the Biden Administration

As part of an ongoing series of articles that focus on the top regulatory and litigation risks for private funds in 2021, William C. Komaroff, Seetha Ramachandran and Joseph Hartunian write for Bloomberg Law on the return to civil and criminal collaboration in white collar investigations under the Biden Administration. Read the full article here.… Continue Reading

Space SPAC Draws SEC Enforcement Action for Allegedly Misleading Disclosures and Due Diligence Failures

As one of the first of an expected series of potential enforcement actions, the SEC has brought an enforcement action against a SPAC and its major participants, highlighting enhanced regulatory scrutiny of SPACs and underscoring the importance of following appropriate diligence and other practices in the de-SPAC process. Given the rapid growth in this sector … Continue Reading

The Portfolio Company Playbook: Chapter 4 – Navigating Direct Liability Risks to the Fund

As litigation claims against portfolio companies have increased, so have accompanying claims asserted directly against funds (and their sponsors). Plaintiffs’ reasoning for including funds as defendants is no mystery: funds often have greater financial resources than the defendant portfolio company, particularly where the portfolio company is in distress, and thus represent the proverbial “deep pockets.” … Continue Reading

Three Key Considerations for Fund Sponsors when Participating in Bankruptcy Proceedings

We anticipate a more assertive regulatory enforcement program under the Biden administration, particularly focused on fund managers’ conflicts of interest, advisers’ codes of ethics, and related policies and procedures relating to material nonpublic information.  These concerns may be heightened for fund managers participating in bankruptcy proceedings, where competing fiduciary obligations arise, particularly in the context … Continue Reading

SPACs: Sure, Proceedings Are Coming

Proskauer’s Asset Management Litigation partner Dorothy Murray recently authored an article on litigation risks of SPACs. Dorothy details why the recent popularity of this latest incarnation of so-called “blank cheque” companies will inevitably lead to disputes, and the reasons are all connected to the very features that make SPACs so attractive in the first place. … Continue Reading

The Portfolio Company Playbook – Chapter 3: Navigating Risk from Company Employee Claims

Another source of litigation risk for fund sponsors are claims brought by portfolio company employees.  Sponsors should be aware of these risks, particularly when the portfolio company is in distress or is considering a sale or other transaction affecting the disposition of shares in the company.  We have set forth below just a few examples … Continue Reading

Private Credit Lenders Should Remain Vigilant in 2021

Private credit lenders began 2020 facing the dual challenges of an increased risk of defaults and a lack of strong financial covenants, and the pandemic sparked a significant increase in defaults to 8.1% in Q2. However, borrower defaults in Q3 and Q4 were lower than anticipated following the COVID-fueled spike in Q2, due in part to … Continue Reading

Return to Civil and Criminal Collaboration in White Collar under Biden Administration

Under the Biden Administration, we expect the Department of Justice to reinvigorate the policies aimed at increasing coordination between the criminal and civil divisions.  In a 2015 Memorandum – the “Yates Memo” – former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates pushed for “early and regular communication” between civil and criminal division attorneys in their pursuit of … Continue Reading

Cryptocurrencies and Other Digital Assets: A New Regime

Cryptocurrencies and digital assets will continue to be an area of intense regulatory focus, but a new administration may bring new regulations. SEC Chairman Gensler has extensive experience with cryptocurrencies and blockchain, including a teaching stint at MIT. However, Gensler has alternated between censure and praise, referring to cryptocurrencies and blockchain both as an “innovative irritant” … Continue Reading

Portfolio Companies Continue to be a Source of Litigation Risk

A significant ownership stake in a portfolio company has always raised the specter of claims against funds, sponsors, and sponsor-appointed board designees, if for no other reason than they are perceived by the plaintiffs’ bar to be deep pockets.  This risk has only increased in recent years, as it has become less taboo – indeed, … Continue Reading

Valuation in Times of Market Disruption

Valuation practices will continue to be the subject of disputes. Particularly in times of economic disruption and market volatility, buyers and sellers are more likely to have substantial differences of opinions on valuation, which often lead to the use of earn-outs and resulting post-closing disputes. Use of a cost basis for recently acquired assets may … Continue Reading

FinCEN’s $390 Million case against Capital One – And What it Means for AML Enforcement

As the financial services industry prepares for expanded criminal and civil enforcement under the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) with the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, FinCEN’s recent case against Capital One shows how FinCEN’s approach to AML enforcement is evolving.… Continue Reading

Top Ten Regulatory and Litigation Risks for Private Funds in 2021

The regulatory and litigation risks for private funds are greater than at any time since the financial crisis in 2008. Just a few examples prove the point: the pandemic (which caused extraordinary volatility in revenues and valuations for most asset categories); a new administration in Washington D.C. (with a more muscular regulatory agenda); continued proliferation … Continue Reading
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