Wed, Jul 29, 2015
A A A
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Private Equity Strategies

SEC Hammers Private Equity Fund Manager

Friday, March 22, 2013

By: Jay Gould, Partner, Pillsbury Law

Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), published its examination priorities for 2013. As we suggested in our Blog posting at that time, the SEC is fixated on examining and bringing enforcement against its newest class of investment adviser – managers of private equity funds. Fast forward four weeks, and we should not be surprised to see that the SEC is doing what they said they would do. Today, the SEC charged two investment advisers at Oppenheimer & Co. with misleading investors about the valuation policies and performance of a private equity fund of funds they manage.

The SEC investigation alleged that Oppenheimer Asset Management and Oppenheimer Alternative Investment Management disseminated misleading quarterly reports and marketing materials, which stated that the Oppenheimer Global Resource Private Equity Fund I L.P.’s holdings of other private equity funds were valued “based on the underlying managers’ estimated values.” The SEC, however, claimed that the portfolio manager of the Oppenheimer fund actually valued the Oppenheimer fund’s largest investment at a significant markup to the underlying fund manager’s estimated value, a change that made the performance of the Oppenheimer fund appear significantly better as measured by its internal rate of return. As part of the Order entered by the SEC, and without admitting or denying the regulator’s allegations, Oppenheimer agreed to pay more than $2.8 million to settle the SEC’s charges and an additional $132,421 to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.

In its press release, the SEC reiterated its focus on the valuation process, the use of valuations to calculate fees and communicating such valuations to investors and to potential investors for purposes of raising capital. The SEC’s order also claimed that Oppenheimer Asset Management’s written policies and procedures were not reasonably designed to ensure that valuations provided to prospective and existing investors were presented in a manner consistent with written representations to investors and prospective investors. This claim gave rise to an alleged violation of Rule 206(4)-8 (among other rules and statutes) under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Advisers Act”), the rule that the SEC passed after the Goldstein case permitted many funds to de-register as investment advisers from the SEC.

This case illustrates the new regulatory landscape for private equity fund managers. Many private equity fund managers have not dedicated the time and resources to bringing their organizations in line with the fiduciary driven rules under the Advisers Act. Many of these managers have not implemented the compliance policies and procedures required by the Advisers Act, nor have their Chief Compliance Officers been empowered to enforce such compliance policies and procedures when adopted. Much of this oversight goes to the fact that many private equity fund managers do not have a history of being a regulated entity nor have they actively sought out regulatory counsel in their typical business dealings. Private equity fund managers generally use outside counsel to advise them on their transactional or “deal” work and they often do not receive the advice that a regulated firm needs in order to meet its regulatory obligations. Oppenheimer serves notice that failing to meet these regulatory obligations can have dire consequences.

This article is also part of the Investment Fund Law Blog, authored by Pillsbury Law Attorneys.

 
This article was published in Opalesque's Private Equity Strategies our monthly research update on the global private equity landscape including all sectors and market caps.
Private Equity Strategies
Private Equity Strategies
Private Equity Strategies


Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing


  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. Bridgewater turns bearish on China[more]

    Komfie Manalo, Opalesque Asia: The world’s biggest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates and one of the most vocal of China’s potential is now turning its back against the world’s second largest economy as it joins a growing list of high-profile investors who are challenging China’s potentials.

  2. Launches - Ex-Brevan Howard star Rokos builds team for new fund, Former Och-Ziff manager’s firm starts health care hedge fund, Industry veterans launch commodity investment firm Aron Capital Management, Nikko Asset Management launches two UCITS funds, Capital Group plans to debut Asian investor targeted fund[more]

    Ex-Brevan Howard star Rokos builds team for new fund From WSJ.com: Chris Rokos, a former star trader at Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, has hired an economist from Nomura to join the team he’s assembling for his much anticipated hedge fund launch. Mr. Rokos, whose firm is due to b

  3. Institutions - Pension fund dismisses Texas consultant, Rhode Island pension fund gets 2.2% investment return, far below assumed rate of 7.5%, New Jersey pension investments see a drop-off in returns[more]

    Pension fund dismisses Texas consultant From Sandiegouniontribute.com: The county retirement board on Thursday terminated the Texas consultant who was given the reins of the $10 billion pension fund, and whose investment picks left many employees and retirees feeling taken for a ride.

  4. SWFs - Sovereign wealth funds paid around $14 billion in fees[more]

    From SWFinstitute.org: When it comes to the financial sector, asset management is one of the most profitable industries in the world. The Boston Consulting Group put out a 2014 figure saying there is US$ 74 trillion worth of professionally-managed assets. One of the fastest growing institutional inv

  5. Investing - Carlyle teams with TCW in push for ordinary investors[more]

    From Bloomberg.com: Carlyle Group LP isn’t backing down from its goal of offering alternative strategies to the masses, despite early setbacks. The Washington-based firm is teaming up with TCW Group, which is majority owned by Carlyle funds, to offer three vehicles that give ordinary investors acces

banner