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Third Party Marketers Must File PPMs with FINRA

Written by: Jay Gould and Peter Chess

Effective December 3, 2012, hedge funds and other private funds that rely on Section 3(c)(1) of the Investment Company Act (“3(c)(1) Funds”) and which sell their interests through third party marketers, must ensure that their private placement memoranda (“PPM”) are filed with FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.  The Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved new FINRA Rule 5123, Private Placements of Securities, which is part of an ongoing approach by FINRA to enhance oversight and investor protection in private placements.  Under Rule 5123, each firm that sells a security in a private placement, subject to certain exemptions, must file a copy of the offering document with FINRA within 15 calendar days of the date of the first sale.  If a firm sells a private placement without using any offering documents, then the firm must indicate that it did not use an offering document.  The rule also requires firms to file any materially amended versions of the documents originally filed.  Rule 5123 exempts some private placements sold solely to qualified purchasers, institutional purchasers and other sophisticated investors.

For hedge funds and other  private funds that have hired a third party marketer, the fund manager must make sure that the agreement with the marketer, which is required to be a registered broker dealer, obligates the marketer to file the PPM with FINRA and amend the filing if the PPM is materially revised.  The marketing agreement, or “placement agency agreement” as it is sometimes called, should indemnify the fund manager for the failure of the marketer to make these filings.      

Rule 5123 will become effective December 3, 2012, and the full text of the FINRA regulatory notice regarding Rule 5123 is available here.