Articles Tagged with Proposed Regulations

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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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In a release issued today, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has proposed anti-money laundering (AML) regulations for investment advisers. The proposed rule requires investment advisers registered or required to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to establish AML programs and report suspicious activity to FinCEN pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The SEC would be delegated authority by FinCEN to examine investment advisers for compliance. The proposed rule also makes investment advisers fall under the definition of “financial institution,” requiring them to file Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) and comply with record keeping obligations under the BSA.

A full copy of the proposed rule is available HERE.

A related article about the new AML regulations was posted in our blog last week.

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In the Federal Register for July 23, 2015, the Treasury Department published proposed regulations regarding the circumstances under which partnership allocations and distributions will be treated as disguised payments for services. These proposed regulations are aimed at attempts by investment fund managers to convert ordinary, management fee income into tax-favored long-term capital gains through the use of management fee waivers.

The proposed regulations draw heavily on the legislative history to Internal Revenue Code section 707(a)(2)(A), enacted as part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-369), which provides that allocations and distributions to a partner by a partnership will be disregarded and instead treated as disguised payments for services if the performance of such services and the related direct or indirect allocation and distribution, taken together, are properly characterized as a transaction between the partnership and a partner acting other than in his capacity as a member of the partnership.

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Read this article and additional publications at pillsburylaw.com/publications-and-presentations.  You can also download a copy of the Client Alert.

Related post: Proposed Treasury Regulations May End Private…

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It has been a common practice of private equity firms to convert their right to receive management fees from the funds they manage into the right to receive profits and distributions from the funds through management fee waiver arrangements.  As a result of these arrangements, the firms achieve a lower tax rate because the profits and distributions they receive in place of the fees usually receive capital gains treatment while the fees would otherwise have generated ordinary income, subject to higher tax rates.  In the proposed regulations, the IRS suggests that these arrangements may be disguised payments for services and result in ordinary income anyways.

While the proposed regulations would be effective when final regulations are published, the IRS has indicated that it believes the principles reflected in the proposed regulations generally reflect Congressional intent—signaling that it may apply these principles to existing arrangements even prior to the adoption of final regulations.

Read the proposed rule in the Federal Register HERE.