Benefits, Challenges and Recommendations for Persons Simultaneously Serving as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of a Hedge Fund Manager

As a result of law, regulation, investor pressure or the gravitational pull of best practices – or a combination of these forces – more and more hedge fund managers feel the need to have a general counsel (GC) and a chief compliance officer (CCO).  For managers with both titles on the organization chart, the question inevitably arises: Should different people serve in the different roles, or should one person serve in both roles?  There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.  A so-called “dual-hatted” employee serving as both GC and CCO is typically less expensive from a compensation perspective, but the volume of work at a larger or more complex manager may be more than one person can handle.  But the analysis extends well beyond compensation and quantity of work.  The decision to dual-hat implicates attorney-client privilege issues, examination preparedness, the reliability of internal controls, the effectiveness of marketing and investor relations and other issues.  At a fundamental level, the decision will inform the scope and depth of the manager’s “culture of compliance” – and it is not necessarily the case that a hedge fund manager with a dual-hatted GC/CCO has an inferior culture of compliance.  The analysis is more refined, and often turns on the structure and strategy of the manager, and effectiveness and ethics at the individual level.  The goal of this article is to help hedge fund managers think through the issues raised by dual-hatting.  For managers considering dual-hatting, this article provides a roadmap to the relevant questions.  For managers that have already made a decision with respect to dual-hatting – whether for or against – this article highlights relevant issues and strategies for addressing them.  In particular, this article discusses: the roles and responsibilities of the GC and CCO; the benefits and costs of having one employee wear both hats; recommendations for hedge fund managers that wish to employ such arrangements; and alternative solutions for hedge fund managers that choose not to use such arrangements.  This article also includes specific compensation ranges for hedge fund manager GCs, CCOs and dual-hatted employees.

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