For Hedge Funds and Their Managers, the SEC’s New Enforcement Initiatives May Increase the Likelihood, Speed and Vigor of Inspections and Examinations

On August 5, 2009, Robert Khuzami, Director of the Division of Enforcement (Enforcement Division) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delivered remarks before the New York City Bar entitled “My First 100 Days as Director of Enforcement.”  In those remarks, Khuzami announced changes and new initiatives for the Enforcement Division.  After a “rigorous self-assessment” of the Enforcement Division’s recent performance, Khuzami said, the new initiatives will refocus the Enforcement Division on speed and efficiency, less supervision and increased incentives for cooperation on the part of subjects of enforcement actions.  For hedge funds and their managers, the restructuring of the Enforcement Division can have various relevant consequences, including increased potential for investigations or examinations; increased speed with which examinations may proceed after they are announced (and hence less notice of examinations); and, in general, an Enforcement Division that is both more zealous and better educated with respect to many of the investment activities and operations of hedge funds.  We describe the new Enforcement Division units and discuss the Enforcement Division’s new priorities, focusing on hedge fund consultants and placement agents; streamlining of management of the Enforcement Division; the proposed Office of Market Intelligence; the likely effects of increased specialization; the anticipated increased scrutiny; and the likely impact on hedge funds and hedge fund managers of units other than the new Asset Management Unit.

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