Proposed Expansion of New York Department of Financial Services Could Impact Hedge Funds

In the legislative language accompanying his 2021 budget proposals, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo proposed to significantly expand the powers of the state’s banking and insurance regulator – the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) – to reach certain securities transactions and investment advice. Under Cuomo’s plan, DFS would have gained broad jurisdiction and substantial enforcement powers over certain consumer products and services, as well as the power to levy increased penalties and seek restitution. Although the budget that was approved amid the coronavirus pandemic did not include that proposed expansion, if the Governor’s proposal is revisited and adopted in the future, DFS – an aggressive state watchdog with broad rulemaking authority under existing law – would likely vigorously assert its new powers, including in areas in which its powers would overlap with and occasionally surpass those of the New York Attorney General. In a guest article, WilmerHale attorneys Brian Mahanna, Susan Schroeder, Tim Silva and Jarret Zafran address how DFS might assert any expanded powers and how that could affect hedge funds. For additional coverage of Cuomo and DFS, see “New York State Governor Cuomo Nominates Benjamin Lawsky to Head New York State Department of Financial Services” (May 20, 2011).

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