OCIE Risk Alert on Private Funds: Focus on Conflicts; Fees and Expenses; and MNPI (Part One of Two)

Earlier this year, Peter Driscoll, Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), advised that a risk alert focused on findings from exams of hedge and private equity fund managers would be forthcoming. In fact, he noted that CCOs for private fund advisers had been asking for such an alert. Driscoll also said OCIE will continue to focus on fees and expenses – a mainstay for the SEC – and compliance programs, and it will continue examining private fund managers, noting that “close to half of the registered investment advisers manage some sort of private fund.” OCIE recently delivered on Driscoll’s promise, issuing a risk alert on observations from examinations of investment advisers managing private funds (Risk Alert). Given Driscoll’s comments, it is not surprising that the Risk Alert focuses on fees and expenses, as well as conflicts of interest and material nonpublic information. This article, the first in a two-part series, provides an overview of the Risk Alert. The second article will spell out key takeaways from the Risk Alert for private fund managers and suggest what advisers should do now in response to the alert. See our coverage of OCIE’s risk alerts on the transition from LIBOR; Regulation Best Interest and Form CRS; electronic messaging; the cash solicitation rule; best execution; fees and expenses; the advertising rule; common examination deficiencies; custody; cybersecurity; business continuity and disaster recovery plans; and social media.

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