Late last year, the SEC filed a litigated action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Ripple Labs Inc. and two of its executive officers (collectively, “Ripple”), alleging that Ripple raised over $1.3 billion in unregistered offerings of the digital asset known as XRP. Ripple opted not to file a motion to dismiss the complaint, and based on recent filings it appears that the parties do not believe a pre-trial settlement is likely. Continue Reading
Proskauer’s Private Investment Funds Group released its 2020 Annual Review. The yearly report provides a summary of some of the significant changes and developments that occurred in the past year in the private equity and hedge fund spaces, as well as certain recommended practices that investment advisers should consider when preparing for 2021.
COVID-19 continues to disrupt normal business operations, creating liquidity problems and negative working capital for many companies. As fund sponsors take actions to help their portfolio companies navigate through this time, they should also sensitize directors to insolvency issues and the associated litigation risks. As we have previously highlighted, both funds and fund managers may face increased risks of litigation exposure when a portfolio company is running low on cash and faces the possibility of restructuring or reorganizing. The COVID-19 pandemic and the havoc it has wrought in its wake has amplified these risks, as companies scramble to shore up their cash positions. These litigation risks are also magnified when fund managers serve as directors of the distressed portfolio company, given the heightened risk of conflicting fiduciary duties inherent in such dual roles. Continue Reading
The SEC recently finalized a new rule under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to govern advertisements by registered investment advisers and payments to solicitors. The amendments create a single marketing rule that (i) revises the definition of an “advertisement,” (ii) sets forth seven general principles governing the use of advertisements, (iii) conditions the use of testimonials, endorsements and third-party ratings in advertisements, and (iv) sets forth requirements for the presentation of performance information in advertisements. The SEC also added corresponding recordkeeping requirements and revisions to Form ADV. The revised marketing rule will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, and will have a compliance date that is 18 months after the effective date.
This past year, we highlighted a Delaware Chancery case adopting an expansive view in favor of parties seeking information from companies under Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. The Delaware Supreme Court recently affirmed the Chancery Court’s ruling, providing additional appellate guidance on Section 220 and endorsing limits the Chancery Court set on certain defenses companies may have against such requests.
Read the full post on Proskauer’s Minding Your Business blog.
Over the last few years, we have seen an uptick in litigation claims against sponsors and funds arising out of their interests in portfolio companies. A fund sponsor’s participation on a portfolio company board, in particular, is a risk factor for the entire investment structure (the GP, the Management Company, individual members of the GP and Management Company, and the Fund) due to conflicts of interest, whether real or perceived, and related competing fiduciary duties. There are, however, steps that fund sponsors can take to manage and reduce their risks. The first step is to develop a full understanding of where, and why, risks lie in the investment structure. With that understanding, sponsors can develop and implement practices to manage and reduce those risks.
Over the past few weeks, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued further guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and General Licenses that clarify the terms of the Order and its Chinese Military Sanctions Program. To a large degree, OFAC’s guidance confirms that the agency will interpret the Order broadly to prohibit not only direct investments, but also derivatives and any investment that causes “investment exposure” to such securities, such as an investment in a fund that includes CCMCs in its investment portfolio. As OFAC’s guidance continues to evolve, financial services firms must address immediate compliance challenges.
As President Biden continues to assemble his economic team, reports have emerged that President Biden will nominate Gary Gensler as the next Chair of the SEC. The nomination of Mr. Gensler would clearly signal a more assertive SEC when it comes to both regulation and enforcement. And while it is too early to predict exactly what that will look like, one thing is virtually certain — the SEC will likely adopt a more aggressive approach towards private funds and their managers, resulting in a marked increase in the number of enforcement actions. Continue Reading
One driver for the first widely adopted cryptocurrency Bitcoin was to create a store of value that existed outside of government control. It is therefore no surprise that attempts to regulate the rapidly developing crypto asset market have required great efforts from regulators and legislators around the world to keep apace.
In this blog, we compare key drivers and results of the regulatory approach being taken in the US and UK. While the U.S. is leading the way on the enforcement of crypto regulations, the UK has taken greater steps in relation to banking approvals. With regard to tax treatment, the position is becoming much clearer in both jurisdictions. Continue Reading
As reported last week, it appears that a state-sponsored security hack has resulted in a major security compromise in widely-used software offered by a company called SolarWinds. The compromised software, known as Orion, is enterprise network management software that helps organizations manage their networks, servers and networked devices. The software is widely-used by both public and private sector companies. How should businesses respond to this development, and how should legal departments direct or support this response? The post spells out some of the specific steps that all potentially impacted organizations should consider.