Enforcement Session at SEC’s Compliance Outreach Program National Seminar Highlights Regulatory Focus on Valuation, Conflicts of Interest and Compliance Shortcomings at Hedge Fund Managers

On January 31, 2012, the SEC hosted its annual “Compliance Outreach Program National Seminar” (Seminar).  (The program was previously called “CCOutreach,” but it has been “rebranded,” as the SEC explained in a press release, to be more inclusive of all senior personnel at firms.)  The Seminar included five sessions.  One of those sessions – and the focus of this article – was entitled “Enforcement-Related Matters” (Session).  The purpose of the Session was to inform fund industry participants about the SEC’s recent risk analytic initiatives and to provide insight into the SEC’s areas of focus and enforcement priorities.  The Session was conducted by: Rosalind Tyson, Regional Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office; Barbara Chretien-Dar, Assistant Director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management; and Bruce Karpati and Robert Kaplan, Co-Chiefs of the Asset Management Unit of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  The Session provided valuable insight into the SEC’s current regulatory priorities, which are or are likely to become areas of focus for investors.  This insight, in turn, can help hedge funds managers deploy limited compliance resources to address the areas of greatest concern for both regulators and investors.  Specifically, the Session: (1) explained how and when risk-based examinations are initiated and their potential progression to investigations; (2) identified the main current focus areas for enforcement staff; and (3) discussed enforcement actions based on these main focus areas.  This article discusses each of the foregoing topics in detail.

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