Suspending Withdrawals: The 2008 Crisis Versus the 2020 Pandemic (Part One of Three)

During the current coronavirus pandemic, the media has reported that various funds have suspended withdrawals or redemptions by investors. The fact that the managers of those funds felt compelled to take such extreme action may cause flashbacks to the 2008 financial crisis, when certain fund managers took similar steps. The industry has changed, however, since then. For example, fund managers have more options now to help them avoid the need for suspensions, such as investor-level gates, special purpose vehicles and redemptions in kind. In addition, even if a suspension does become necessary, it may no longer carry the same stigma it previously did. This three-part series explores the process of suspending withdrawals. This first article discusses suspensions during the 2008 financial crisis compared to the current pandemic; reasons a fund manager may consider imposing a suspension; the downsides of doing so; and the SEC’s view of suspensions. The second article will examine the process by which a fund manager may suspend withdrawals, and the third article will explain the steps for lifting a suspension along with actions that managers should be taking now to prepare for the possibility of suspending withdrawals in the future. See “Schulte Partner Stephanie Breslow Addresses Gates, Side Pockets, Secondaries, Co‑Investments, Redemption Suspensions, Funds of One and Fiduciary Duty (Part One of Two)” (Dec. 4, 2014).

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