Exempt Investment Companies

While working out the possible impact of the SEC’s proposal to require central clearing of triparty repurchase agreements, we realized that we short-changed the analysis of multilateral netting in our last post. Our explanation of the SEC’s example focused on just the cash side of the trades, which is to say the amounts to be paid. To appreciate multilateral netting fully, we need to consider the security side of the trades, what is to be delivered, as well. This post seeks to rectify our oversight.

Our previous post explained the SEC’s proposal (the Proposal) to require central clearing of all “eligible secondary market transactions” with a participant in the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation (FICC). In this post we review the benefits of central clearing cited by the SEC to justify its Proposal. We also discuss “hybrid clearing” and “multilateral netting.”

On October 7, 2022, the SEC reopened the comment period for a dozen proposed rules “[d]ue to a technological error.” As a result of this error, “a number of public comments submitted through the Commission’s internet form for the submission of comment letters were not received by the Commission and therefore were not posted in the relevant comment file.” Comments can be filed from October 7 until two weeks after the SEC’s order is published in the Federal Register—a date that has yet to be established.

On September 14, 2022, the SEC proposed amendments (the Proposal) to regulations for clearing agencies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the Exchange Act). The Proposal would increase the central clearing of U.S. Treasury securities, to be defined as “any security issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.” According to the SEC’s press release, “the proposal would require that clearing agencies in the U.S. Treasury market adopt policies and procedures designed to require their members to submit for clearing certain specified secondary market transactions.”

Last week the SEC adopted rule amendments to the definition of “accredited investor” under Regulation D (“Reg D”) of the Securities Act of 1933. The rule amendments, the SEC says, are intended to modernize a term that has not changed in nearly 40 years and to “more effectively identify institutional and individual investors that have the knowledge and expertise to participate in” today’s “multifaceted and vast private markets.”

On August 26, 2020, the SEC adopted amendments to update the definition of “accredited investor” in Rule 501(a) of the Securities Act, adding new categories of individuals who may qualify as accredited investors based on measures of knowledge, experience, or certifications, and expanding the list of entities that can qualify as accredited investors. The SEC

I. DERIVATIVES ISSUES

1. Inventory “relationship level” considerations in legal documentation that governs your derivatives trading relationships (ISDA Master Agreements, Futures Customer Agreements, Master Securities Forward Transaction Agreements, etc.)

a. Example: Decline in Net Asset Value Provisions (Common in ISDAs)

i. Identify the trigger decline levels and time frames at which transactions under the agreement can be terminated (25% over a 1-month period – is that measured on a rolling basis or by reference to the prior month’s end?)

ii. Confirm whether all or only some transactions can be terminated (typically, it is all transactions)

iii. Identify the notice requirements that apply when a threshold is crossed

iv. Identify whether the agreement includes a “fish or cut bait clause” that restricts the ability of the other party to designate the termination of the transactions under the trading agreement

The proper treatment of angel investing groups under the Federal securities laws can be a vexing question. If it were appropriate to describe the angel investing group as a “company” as defined in Section 2(a)(8) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, and if the “company” were appropriately viewed as issuing interests or shares, then the angel investing group would have to seek to rely on Sections 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act and comply with the requirements of Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933. Yet these views seem to beg the questions of who is giving investment advice to the “company” and who is acting as a broker in offering and selling interests in the “company.”

Effective August 15, 2016 for SEC-registered investment advisers, most funds or separate accounts that are subject to a performance fee or allocation need to raise their “qualified client” net worth threshold for new investors, new investments from existing investors, or new separate account agreements, from $2 million to $2.1 million.  Other thresholds (such as the same provision’s $1 million threshold for an investor’s assets managed by the same adviser) remain unchanged. 

Shortly after my post on the SEC’s recent settlement with Apollo Global Management went up, the SEC released a settlement with another private equity fund manager: W.L. Ross & Co. LLC (“WLR”). Like the Apollo case, the SEC sanctioned WLR for failing to fully disclose how it was collecting its fees. But WLR paid a lower penalty than Apollo, perhaps due to its greater perceived cooperation with the SEC.