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.
Continue Reading More Sanctions from Private Equity Fees: W.L. Ross

Four affiliates of Apollo Global Management settled with the SEC by paying $52.7 million (disgorgement of $37.5 million, prejudgment interest of $2.7 million, and a civil money penalty of $12.5 million) and were issued a cease-and-desist order. There were several bases of alleged misconduct.
Continue Reading Apollo Global Management Settles with the SEC

Late last fall, Congress faced a serious crisis in trying to pass a comprehensive transportation bill, designated as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.  Amendments to various Federal securities and banking laws were added to the FAST Act during the reconciliation process. These amendments had not been the subjects of serious hearings in either house of Congress and were such narrow, rifle-shot changes as to deserve to be considered special pleading. Some commentary has already been published regarding amendments to  the Securities Act of 1933, which included codification in Section 4(a)(7) of what had been previously referred to as the Section 4(1½) exemption: a long-standing interpretation permitting the resale of unregistered securities to sophisticated investors without causing the seller to be an underwriter. Certain Silicon Valley investors apparently considered Section 4(1½) too delimiting, leading to the statutory changes that should facilitate greater liquidity for those investors, hopefully making it easier for early state start-ups to raise additional capital.

The FAST Act also amended two provisions of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”).  Readers will recall that the Dodd-Frank Act included exemptions from SEC registration for venture capital advisers, family offices and certain hedge fund advisers. The SEC promptly adopted regulations to implement these exemptions. Section 203(l) exempts investment advisers whose only clients were one or more “venture capital funds” as defined in Rule 203(l)-1. Rule 203(m)-1 exempts investment advisers solely to private funds that had assets under management in the United States of less than $150 million.
Continue Reading SEC Staff Puts a Bow on Gifts from Christmas 2015 Legislation