Allegations That Private Equity Manager Misallocated Expenses and Failed to Disclose Conflicts of Interest Result in Nearly $3 Million in Disgorgement and Fines

Improper expense allocations and conflicts of interest, which often go hand in hand, are easy and frequent SEC targets. An investment adviser landed in trouble on both counts by allocating personnel expenses to its funds when not explicitly permitted by the funds’ governing documents; failing to appropriately allocate certain expenses among the adviser’s clients; and misallocating expenses to its clients that should have been borne by the adviser or one of its principals. This action is a reminder that advisers must be scrupulous in allocating expenses among themselves and their funds, and that advisers must insist that third-party service providers keep accurate logs of the services they provide to the adviser, its clients and affiliates. This article analyzes the SEC settlement order. See “OCIE Risk Alert Warns of Six Most Frequent Fee and Expense Compliance Issues” (May 3, 2018); and “Eight Bad Excuses Fund Managers Have Raised Trying to Avoid SEC Sanctions for Fee and Expense Allocation Violations and Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest” (Oct. 13, 2016).

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