On March 27th, the SEC Division of Examinations (the “Division”) published a risk alert affirming its long-standing interest in conducting reasonably prompt examinations of newly registered advisers. The risk alert provides an examination ‘how to’ guide for new advisers, describing the materials those advisers should expect to provide to staff in an examination. Advisers should expect exam staff to focus on (i) proper identification and mitigation of conflicts of interest; (2) adequacy of client disclosures; and (3) effectiveness of compliance programs.Continue Reading SEC Risk Alert Identifies Key Compliance Issues for New (and Not New) Registered Advisers
On March 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission announced insider trading charges against Terren Peizer, the CEO and Chairman of a California-based healthcare services company called Ontrak, Inc. (the “Company”) for allegedly selling Company securities while in possession of material, non-public information (“MNPI”) that one of the Company’s major customers was likely to cancel its contract. Continue Reading DOJ and SEC Charge Healthcare Executive With Insider Trading Through a Rule 10b5-1 Trading Plan, Marking DOJ’s First Such Indictment
On December 29, 2022, in a closely-watched insider trading case, the Second Circuit decided United States v. Blaszczak (“Blaszczak II”). The Supreme Court in January 2021 had vacated and remanded the Second Circuit’s prior decision in light of Kelly v. United States (also known as the “Bridgegate” decision). On remand, a divided panel of the Second Circuit found that trading on the basis of certain confidential government information related to pending regulation does not give rise to violations of the criminal wire fraud and securities fraud statutes.Continue Reading Second Circuit Decision Limits the Ability to Prosecute Instances of Trading on Confidential Government Information
The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2023”.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) ramped up their enforcement efforts in 2022, often in highly coordinated actions, including with other regulatory agencies such as the Commodity…
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced the Division of Enforcement’s results for fiscal year 2022, the first full year for the Division under the leadership of both Chair Gary Gensler and Director of Enforcement Gurbir Grewal.
Results were up from the year before, with a record $4.2 billion in civil penalties reflecting the…
On October 26, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed a new rule under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”) imposing due diligence, recordkeeping and reporting obligations on registered investment advisers (“RIAs”) who outsource certain key “covered functions” of the adviser’s business to third parties, including affiliates. The Proposal represents another step toward more substantive regulation of RIAs by the SEC under Chairman Gensler, and will impose real costs and operational risk on RIAs.
Continue Reading New Requirements for Outsourcing by Advisers: Proposed SEC Rule Brings More Obligations and Scrutiny
On September 21, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced settled insider trading charges against the CEO and the former President and Chief Technology Officer of Cheetah Mobile Inc. (the “Company”), a China-based mobile internet company. The executives allegedly possessed material nonpublic information (“MNPI”) when they set up a trading plan under Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities Exchange Act.
Continue Reading SEC Charges Company Executives with Insider Trading for Allegedly Setting Up 10b5-1 Trading Plan While in Possession of MNPI
On August 10, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) jointly adopted proposed amendments to Form PF that would significantly expand reporting by private equity advisers and hedge fund advisers of both their investments and structures (the “Proposal,” available here). The Proposal is part of an ongoing effort to bolster the SEC’s regulatory oversight of private fund advisers and investor protection efforts, while also purportedly enhancing the Financial Stability Oversight Counsel’s (“FSOC”) ability to monitor systematic risk.
Continue Reading Form PF, Take Two: The SEC and CFTC Propose Further Amendments To Reporting Obligations For Private Equity and Hedge Funds
On May 25, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed amendments to rules and related reporting forms under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”) and the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Investment Company Act”) that are ostensibly intended to provide additional transparency regarding the use of environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) factors by investment advisers and investment companies (the “Proposal,” available here), but which will also give SEC Examination and Enforcement staff additional tools to track and target advisers and funds pursuing an ESG strategy.
Continue Reading New ESG Rule Proposal Raises the Stakes under SEC’s New Marketing Rule
On May 23, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced the inaugural enforcement action against an investment adviser by its much hyped ESG Task Force. As expected, this case does not find fault with the concept of ESG or conduct suggesting actual wrongdoing. Instead, consistent with bread and butter policy for the SEC’s Enforcement Division, the SEC charged BNY Mellon Investment Advisers (“BNYMIA”) for failing to act consistently with its ESG disclosures to investors and having inadequate policies and procedures to prevent the misleading disclosures. While the penalty of $1.5 million could be seen as small for this SEC, BNYMIA was charged with negligent fraud under Section 206(2), Section 206(4) and Rule 206(4)-8 under the Advisers Act, in addition to compliance violations.
Continue Reading SEC’s ESG Task Force Comes Out Swinging with Inaugural Enforcement Action Ahead of New ESG Disclosure Rules