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Other Voices: The long arm of the law - Implications of an SEC examination to the offshore hedge fund

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The authors of this article are Kevin Phillip and Wade Kenny, both managers at dms Management Ltd. (dms), the largest management firm in the Cayman Islands. dms focuses on serving the hedge fund industry.

It has long been a fact of life for registered investment advisers preparing for, and surviving, the SEC examination. While, understandably, no organization looks forward to such an examination, its importance remains. With proposed amendments from the SEC, it may become an even more frequent fact of life for the investment adviser. Though few would argue that this is not in the best interest of investors, or the industry in general, the implications of these examinations raise some interesting questions for the offshore hedge fund and its service providers.

In the wake of unprecedented scandal, fraud and misappropriation of assets, the SEC recently proposed amendments to strengthen and safeguard investor funds controlled by registered investment advisers (http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/2009/ia-2876.pdf). Mary Schapiro, chairperson of the SEC, said, “These new safeguards are designed to decrease the likelihood that an investment adviser could misappropriate a client’s assets and go undetected."¹

These amendments will include having the investment adviser undergo a surprise audit that will be completed by an independent public accountant firm. In addition, unless client accounts are maintained by an independent qualified custodian (i.e. a custo......................

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