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Proskauer on Private Fund Litigation

Category Archives: Private Equity

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The Bottom Line of the SEC Proposed Private Fund Rules

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, as amended, that would have notable practical implications for private funds advisers, in many cases regardless of the adviser’s registration status. At a high level, the proposed … Continue Reading

Conflicts of Interest: How High Will the Bar be Raised?

The SEC last month proposed rules under the Advisers Act indicating a dramatic shift in how the SEC intends to reduce conflicts of interest involving private fund managers and their investors. As we previously noted in the context of increased disclosure obligations, the SEC’s recent approach previews a sea change redefining the relationship between private … Continue Reading

SEC Division of Examinations Announces 2022 Examination Priorities

On March 30, 2022, the Division of Examinations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced its examination priorities for fiscal year 2022. The annual publication of the Division’s examination priorities is intended to align with the Division’s four pillars of promoting and improving compliance, preventing fraud, monitoring risk, and informing policy, and … Continue Reading

The Trend of Increasing Disclosure Obligations for Private Funds Continues in 2022

Last month, the SEC proposed new rules under the Advisers Act that, if implemented, would be the most significant enhancement of disclosure obligations for private fund managers since the Dodd-Frank Act.  Citing investor protection and transparency concerns for limited partners as investors, these proposals signal the Commission’s intent to add additional tools to the fund … Continue Reading

Insider Trading, MNPI and Related Internal Controls: A Renewed Focus by SEC

Over the past few years, the SEC has brought fewer insider trading and Material Non-Public Information (MNPI)-related cases compared to historical numbers. We expect to see a reversal of that trend in 2022. The SEC has provided some hints of its renewed focus on insider trading. First, even though the overall number of insider trading … 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

Economic Sanctions and Asset Seizures: An Important Focus for the Biden Administration

Sanctions continue to be a dynamic area of regulation and enforcement. In its first year, the Biden Administration has already undertaken a number of different sanctions initiatives. The three examples below highlight the range of strategies employed and their potential ramifications for private investment funds.… 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

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

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

SEC Increases Advisers Act Qualified Client Thresholds

Registered advisers should take note that on June 17th, the SEC adjusted the dollar amount thresholds for clients of registered advisers to be deemed to be “qualified clients” under rule 205-3 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, which permits registered investment advisers to charge performance-based fees to such clients. Upon the effective date of … 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

Navigating Brexit: What Funds Should Look Out for as the Dust Begins to Settle

As a result of Brexit, UK-regulated firms will already have grappled with loss of passporting and equivalence measures, and the need to navigate national regimes and relocate staff. As of today, EU firms operating in the UK have a temporary permissions regime with the UK having set out its approach to equivalence, but this remains … 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
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