Financial Regulatory Forum

The JOBS Act at age two – prodigy or enfant terrible?

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Apr. 3, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The financial services industry is still getting used to the two-year old JOBS Act, as funds gingerly begin to explore new general-solicitation freedoms and “crowdfunding” venues sort through the rules, speakers said at a Fordham Law School forum in New York.

As mandated by the JOBS – or Jumpstart Our Business Startups – Act enacted in April 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted rules for general solicitations that became effective in September 2013, and is reviewing comments to a December 2013 set of proposed crowd-funding rules. (more…)

IA brief: SEC examiners give first look at hedge fund exam findings

By Jason Wallace, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Feb. 11 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Last week, representatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission gave the first of many reports concerning its “presence exam” initiative for conducting initial regulatory exams of private advisers, and reported a lower rate of deficiencies compared with regular exams. The panel highlighted exam findings and staff observations concerning investment conflicts, marketing, valuation and custody.

The Dodd-Frank Act required approximately 1,500 private advisers to register with the SEC in 2012 – resulting in a current population of approximately 4,000 registered private advisers. (more…)

SEC has three words for hedge funds: “culture of compliance.” But what do they mean?

By Jeanette Turner, contributing author for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, April 3 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission inevitably emphasizes the importance of an advisory firm’s “culture of compliance,” in the regulator’s speeches, panel discussions, and announcements of enforcement wins and settlements. It stresses that firms will be held accountable when their employees break the law to benefit the firm. Having a “robust” culture of compliance can help firms avoid severe financial consequences. (more…)

JPMorgan AGM punctured by thorny hedge issues

By Christopher Elias

LONDON/NEW YORK, May 17 (Business Law Currents) - JPMorgan’s disastrous $2 billion hedge loss has raised some thorny issues on management oversight, corporate governance and the effectiveness of the Volcker Rule, as division at the banking giant’s annual general meeting highlight a growing tension between its shareholders and management.

Little more than a week ago, prior to Tuesday’s annual general meeting (AGM), JPMorgan announced that it had incurred a $2 billion loss as a result of a hedge gone wrong from its London offices with the possibility of $1 billion in additional losses to follow. (more…)

U.S. SEC set to monitor private equity funds, official says

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, May 8 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Many of the world’s top private equity funds will soon be examined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Carlo di Florio, director of OCIE, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, said.

Fourteen of the 50 largest hedge fund advisers in the world, and 18 of the 50 largest private equity funds in the world, are newly registered with the SEC under the Dodd-Frank Act, di Florio said at a private fund compliance conference in Manhattan last week.  (more…)

JOBS Act provision opens door to hedge fund advertising, trade group urges caution

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK, April 9 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A little known provision of the new small-business capital JOBS Act opens the door to advertising by hedge funds, but an industry organization cautioned members that the advertisements must still comply with state laws and other regulations.

Firms registered with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission or state regulators should seek legal advice before advertising to the public to avoid the threat of enforcement, Ron Geffner, vice president at the Hedge Fund Association and partner at the law firm Sadis & Goldberg, told Thomson Reuters. (more…)

Financial institutions and investment funds should prepare now for FATCA

By Steven D Bortnick, contributing author for Thomson Reuters Accelus

NEW YORK, April 4 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The enactment of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) as in March of 2010 has sent shock waves through financial institutions and investment fund management companies. FATCA aims to obtain information to prevent U.S. persons from evading taxation through the use of foreign entities. Although the law does not fully enter in force until January 1, 2013, the effort to become compliant with FATCA should begin immediately. Some tips on how to do so are noted below.

The legislation is the direct result of the events that led to UBS’ admission that it helped U.S. taxpayers evade U.S. income tax on U.S.-source income. While the goal is the increased collection of tax, the intention is not to create any new tax. FATCA’s goal is accomplished by adding an entirely new chapter to the Internal Revenue Code devoted to due diligence, reporting and withholding. Failure to comply will result in withholding tax at the rate of 30 percent, including withholding on items understood not to be taxable in the hands of foreign persons.  (more…)

Compensatory penalties, hedge-fund insider cases mark SEC enforcement trends

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK, March 14 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission wants more power to fine firms and individuals for fraud and market abuses, in the face of tougher public scrutiny and judicial opposition to recent settlements. While the agency has been imposing stiffer penalties, the amount remains constrained by the agency’s current authority, said George Canellos SEC New York Regional Office Director.

Canellos was speaking as part of a panel last week on trends in financial enforcement and securities litigation after Dodd-Frank. The panel was organized by NYU Stern Business School and NERA Economic Consulting. (more…)

Einhorn/Greenlight Capital fine highlights duty for investors to seek absolute clarity over inside information

By Martin Coyle and Alex Robson

LONDON/NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A decision by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) to fine hedge fund manager David Einhorn and his Greenlight Capital fund 7.3 million pounds ($11.5 million) has highlighted the need for professional investors to ascertain clearly what constitutes inside information, securities lawyers said. The FSA said that it fined Einhorn 3.64 million pounds and Greenlight Capital 3.65 million pounds for using inside information that he obtained from a broker before selling shares in a UK public company in 2009. Einhorn’s is the biggest scalp by far of the FSA’s renewed determination to punish market manipulation as part of its “credible deterrence” policy.

The regulator said that Einhorn learned from a telephone conversation with the broker that British pub company Punch Taverns was on the verge of a significant equity fundraising, prompting the New York-based financier to sell down his holdings before an anticipated fall in the shares. (more…)

Tiger Asia case has exposed Hong Kong regulator’s enforcement reach, say lawyers

The latest edition of Hong Kong dollar notes during an exhibition in Hong KongBy Ajay Shamdasani

HONG KONG/NEW YORK, Sept. 15 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The Hong Kong securities regulator’s legal troubles in bringing disciplinary action against New York-based hedge fund Tiger Asia Management has shown the limitations of its regulatory reach and signalled that funds may be safer operating from offshore, according to a source close to the proceedings. The source, a senior local financial lawyer close to the case, said that his advice for foreign funds that did not need to be licensed and regulated in Hong Kong was to forgo doing so in order to reduce the risk of disciplinary action by the territory’s Securities and Futures Commission.

The SFC is locked in a legal battle over its disciplinary action against Tiger Asia and three of its officers — Bill Sung Kook Hwang, Raymond Park and William Tomita — first taken in August 2009. The SFC alleged the hedge fund and its senior management breached local market misconduct and insider dealing rules during a placing of China Construction Bank shares in Hong Kong in early 2009, earning itself a profit of $29.9 million.  (more…)

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