How Can Hedge Fund Managers Structure the Compensation of Third-Party Marketers in Light of the Ban On “Contingent Compensation” Under New York City and California Lobbying Laws? (Part Two of Three)

An authoritative recent interpretation of New York City’s lobbying law and recent amendments to California’s lobbyist law likely will require placement agents and other third-party hedge fund marketers, in-house hedge fund marketers and, in some cases, hedge fund managers themselves, to register as lobbyists.  Such registration will impose new obligations and prohibitions on hedge fund marketers and managers.  See “Recent Developments in New York City and California Lobbying Laws May Impact the Activities and Compensation of In-House and Third-Party Hedge Fund Marketers (Part One of Three),” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 4, No. 6 (Feb. 18, 2011).  Most dramatically, both California and New York City will prohibit a registered lobbyist from receiving contingent compensation, that is, compensation that is calculated by reference to the success of the lobbyist’s efforts in persuading a public pension fund to invest in a hedge fund.  Success-based compensation is the primary mechanism used to compensate and incentivize hedge fund marketers.  Accordingly, the legal change in California and the interpretive change in New York will fundamentally alter the economics of hedge fund marketing.  Or to set the stage in simpler terms: Hedge fund marketers will be required to register as lobbyists; hedge fund marketers are paid by commission; lobbying laws prohibit the payment of commissions to lobbyists; so how will hedge fund marketers be paid going forward?  This is the second article in a three-part series intended to address that question.  The first article included a comprehensive chart detailing the provisions relevant to hedge fund managers and marketers of the New York City and California lobbying laws.  This article examines how hedge fund managers can structure or restructure their arrangements with third-party hedge fund marketers in light of the ban on contingent compensation.  Specifically, this article discusses: the relevant provisions of the New York City Administrative Code and the California Code; trends in other states and municipalities; typical components, levels and structures of compensation of third-party hedge fund marketers (all of which were analyzed in depth in a prior article in the HFLR); four specific strategies that hedge fund managers can use to structure new arrangements with third-party marketers, and the benefits and burdens of each; three of the more challenging scenarios that hedge fund managers may face in restructuring existing agreements with third-party marketers, and the relevant legal considerations in each scenario; whether the New York City and California lobbying laws contain grandfathering provisions; special lobbying law considerations for funds of funds; and changes to representations, warranties, covenants and due diligence necessitated by the changes to the lobbying law.  The article concludes with a discussion of a “bigger issue” that has the potential to render the foregoing discussion largely moot.  (The third article in this series will examine related issues with respect to in-house hedge fund marketers.)

To read the full article

Continue reading your article with a HFLR subscription.