private fund regulation

Economic headwinds and the interest rate environment that developed over the course of 2023 increased financial stress on portfolio companies and portend heightened litigation risk in 2024 for portfolio companies and their private fund sponsors. Specifically, interest rate increases that accelerated through 2022 continued in 2023, and compounded existing economic stressors including tight liquidity and inflation coming out of 2020 and 2021, as well as increased cost and other burdens related to ESG and regulatory compliance. These pressures put portfolio companies in often unsustainable financial positions, causing them to prematurely seek liquidity events, violate debt covenants with lenders, and resort to bankruptcy, all of which has led to an increase in disputes and litigation, which we expect to continue in 2024.

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 manager enforcement and examination toolbox.