Articles Tagged with Investment Funds

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The U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on August 25, 2015 which, among other things, would add SEC-registered investment advisers to the “financial institutions” regulated under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). This represents another step by the U.S. government to expand the professions and industries deemed anti-money laundering (AML) gatekeepers. Covered investment advisers will face new AML program, reporting and record-keeping requirements, with implications for hedge, private equity and other funds; money managers; and public or private real estate funds.

FinCEN has long expressed an interest in regulating investment advisers, which it believes may be vulnerable to or may obscure money laundering and terrorist financing. Should the rule become final, SEC-registered investment advisers would be included in the regulatory definition of “financial institution” and, as a consequence, required to establish and implement appropriately comprehensive written AML programs and comply with a variety of reporting and recordkeeping requirements under the BSA. Investment advisers that already implemented AML programs would need to evaluate them to ensure they comply with BSA requirements.

Who are Covered “Investment Advisers”?

Investment advisers provide advisory services, such as portfolio management, financial planning, and pension consulting, to many different types of clients, including institutions, private funds and other pooled investment vehicles, pension plans, trusts, foundations and mutual funds. According to the proposed rule, an “investment adviser” would be defined as “[a]ny person who is registered or required to register with the SEC under section 203 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80b-3(a)).”

The definition would cover all investment advisers, including subadvisers, subject to Federal regulation which, generally speaking, would include advisers that have $100 million or more in assets under management. This includes investment advisers engaging in activities with publicly or privately offered real estate funds. Small- and medium-sized investment advisers that are state-registered and other investment advisers that are exempt from SEC registration requirements would not be captured by the proposed rule. FinCEN indicated, however, that future rulemaking may include those types of advisers.

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Kimberly Mann, co-head of Pillsbury’s Investment Funds and Investment Management Group, was interviewed and quoted at length in an article published in FundFire this week. The article explored whether regulators should permit asset managers to settle cases without admitting culpability. In response to that question, Ms. Mann, who has expertise in investment advisor regulatory and fund-related matters, commented “If you’re asking investors, they would likely say “yes”, there should be an admission required. But if you ask fund managers, the response might be a little different and it might be nuanced; it might depend on the severity of the charge and the impact of the charge.” Ms. Mann added “There’s a lot to consider when one is trying to decide whether to make an admission. So, I think most would want flexibility.” She further commented “Some investors might shy away from anyone who’s even been charged, but there are others who might not be as put off if there weren’t an admission.”  To the question of how a regulator would determine when to require an admission, Ms. Mann responded “The broader the effect, the more aggressive [the regulator] would be in pursuing an admission.”

Read the full article HERE.

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Pillsbury hosted a panel event for 100 Women in Hedge Funds on July 28 discussing conflicts of interests hedge fund managers face in managing multiple account types, such as funds, institutional separate accounts and sub-advised mutual funds.  Kristin Snyder, Associate Regional Director for Examinations, San Francisco Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission, emphasized that while the SEC does not expect advisers to have conflict-free business models, clear disclosure and effective mitigation of material conflicts are essential fiduciary duties of an adviser.  Other panelists and representatives of hedge fund managers (Frank Martin, President, Standard Pacific Capital, LLC) and institutional investors (Michelle Young, Managing Director, Ohana Advisors), provided insights into identifying, assessing, mitigating, and managing those conflicts.  Sarah Good, Partner and Co-Leader of Pillsbury’s Securities Litigation and Enforcement practice group, discussed case studies illustrating the SEC’s approach to manager conflicts.  Ildiko Duckor, Partner and co-head of Pillsbury’s Investment Funds and Investment Management group, moderated the panel and offered tips and comments on practical solutions to account conflicts.