Monthly Archives: August 2009

Hedge Fund Investors Asking for More Meaningful Communication

Clients are demanding that investment managers communicate more than just data

The following white paper was released by BK Communications Group, a company which provides outsourced marketing and client communications solutions for the asset management industry.  According to a recent survey of institutional hedge fund investors, clients largely prefer that managers take the call for transparency one level further and communicate to them in a meaningful way that explains what they’re doing with the funds.  Popular forms of communication adopted by investment firms include pitch-books, websites, and personal contact.  According to a report by McKinsey & Co., providing full transparency and enhancing communication efforts can be useful in client retention and future asset gathering.

The executive summary and highlights of the paper is re-printed in full below as well as a link to the paper.


BKCG White Paper
June 2009
The New Transparency: Words

Clients are demanding that investment managers communicate more than just data

Executive Summary

Transparency has typically been equated with access to data (trade, exposure, valuation, etc.), but the financial crisis and fund scandals have led clients, investors, as well as regulators to demand more. Major surveys and anecdotal evidence indicate communication is now in demand. Clients want managers to put the numbers in context, to explain what they’re doing, to communicate on a clear and meaningful basis. This expanded transparency can help retain clients and strategically position a firm for future asset gathering, both by building a brand associated with full transparency and by ensuring that all touchpoints – from pitchbooks to websites to personal contact – are fully in place and high quality. Investment firms must carefully examine how they currently communicate, decide on any adjustments that must be made, and determine whether they have the internal capabilities and resources to execute on those adjustments.


  • Communication is the new transparency. Data alone is no longer sufficient. Clients want managers to put the numbers in context, to explain what they’re doing, to communicate on a clear and meaningful basis
  • SEI/Greenwich Associates’ global survey of institutional investors finds investors will “intensify their scrutiny of investment processes” and increasingly emphasize client reporting and communications.
  • Preqin’s survey of 50 institutional hedge fund investors finds that events of the past 12 months have led 43% of respondents to expect “increased transparency and understandable strategy.”
  • Providing full transparency can be a way of helping to retain clients and strategically position a firm for future asset gathering. McKinsey & Co’s major report (“The Asset Management Industry in 2010”) concludes that “winning asset managers will be those who forge a superior reputation and capabilities for service and sophisticated advice.”
  • Communications transparency can be approached strategically, to ensure an investment firm’s brand is associated with openness and clarity, and to establish a reputation for thought leadership, as this is associated with mastery of core competence.
  • Communications transparency can also be approached tactically by making sure that all touchpoints – from pitchbooks to websites to personal contacts – are fully in place and high quality.
  • Many investment firms are shedding internal resources that are not profit centers, including communications personnel, or are hesitant to bring on those resources – leaving them without the necessary skills, or bandwidth, for an appropriate level of communications.

For the full report, please see BKCG Transparency White Paper


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to start a hedge fund. Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Bart Mallon, Esq. runs hedge fund law blog and has written most all of the articles which appear on this website.  Mr. Mallon’s legal practice is devoted to helping emerging and start up hedge fund managers successfully launch a hedge fund.  If you are a hedge fund manager who is looking to start a hedge fund, please call Mr. Mallon directly at 415-296-8510.

Commodity Pool Operators Scrambling After Surprise CFTC Decision

CFTC Withdraws Two No-Action Letters

In a surprise move the CFTC has withdrawn two no-action letters which is had just recently issued.  Under the new Chairman Gary Gensler, the CFTC has made an about face on this issue with regard to two commodity pool operators who were relying on the no-action letters issued in 2006.  Under the no-action letters, the CFTC provided no-action relief to the CPOs from certain speculative position limits.  According to the release reprinted below, the reason for the change is because Chairman Gensler “believe[s] that position limits should be consistently applied and vigorously enforced.”  While we generally believe that rules should be applied uniformly, we also believe that the governmental agencies (the CFTC and the SEC) should not make it a practice of revoking previously issued no-action letters.  We also believe that the CFTC and the SEC should not be in the business of express politicking, which may have been the case here – it sets a horrible precedent for new/changing administrations.  Additionally, we believe that the same “tough line” on position limits could have been effected in a less onerous manner.

The release states that the CFTC will work with the affected CPOs, but the damage has been done – how are businesses supposed to operate when these governmental agencies are constantly moving the target?

The no-action letters can be found here:


Release: 5695-09
For Release: August 19, 2009

CFTC Withdraws Two No-Action Letters Granting Relief from Federal Speculative Position Limits on Soybeans, Corn and Wheat Contracts

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that it is withdrawing two no-action letters that provided relief from federal agricultural speculative positions limits set forth in CFTC regulations (17 C.F.R §150.2).

“I believe that position limits should be consistently applied and vigorously enforced,” CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said. “Position limits promote market integrity by guarding against concentrated positions.”

In CFTC Letter 06-09 (May 5, 2006), the agency’s Division of Market Oversight (DMO) granted no-action relief to DB Commodity Services LLC, a commodity pool operator (CPO) and commodity trading advisor (CTA), permitting the DB Commodity Index Tracking Master Fund to take positions in corn and wheat futures that exceed federal speculative position limits set forth in CFTC Regulation 150.2. Subsequently, in CFTC Letter 06-19 (September 6, 2006), DMO granted similar no-action relief to a CPO/CTA employing a proprietary commodity investment strategy that includes positions in Chicago Board of Trade corn, soybeans and wheat futures contracts. Among other things, DMO’s no-action position in both cases stated that any change in circumstances or conditions could result in a different conclusion. DMO has previously stated that the trading strategies employed by these entities would not qualify for a bona fide hedge exemption under the Commission’s regulations.

DMO will work with each of these entities as they transition to positions within current federal speculative limits. The withdrawal of these no-action positions is very specific and limited and does not affect any other no-action or regulatory positions taken by the CFTC or its staff with regard to these entities or other market participants.

Last Updated: August 19, 2009


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to start a hedge fund. Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Bart Mallon, Esq. runs hedge fund law blog and has written most all of the articles which appear on this website.  Mr. Mallon’s legal practice is devoted to helping emerging and start up hedge fund managers successfully launch a hedge fund.  If you are a hedge fund manager who is looking to start a hedge fund, or if you have questions about becoming registered as a CPO or CTA, please call Mr. Mallon directly at 415-296-8510.

Hedge Fund Operational Issues and Failures

Hedge Fund Due Diligence Firm Releases White Paper

We’ve published a number of thoughtful pieces on this blog from Chris Addy, president and CEO of Castle Hall Alternatives (see, for example, article on Hedge Fund Auditors).  Today we are publishing a press release which announces a new white paper from Castle Hall detailing the various reasons which hedge funds fail.  The press release also describes a new web database called HedgeEvent which was created by Castle Hall and details a number of hedge fund operational failures over the last few years.

I found the white paper to be interesting.  I would imagine that some fund of funds and other types of hedge fund investors would find the information useful.  A couple of interesting facts from the whitepaper:

  • The most common causes of operational failure in hedge funds are (i) theft and misappropriation and (ii) existence of assets (i.e. Ponzi schemes).
  • Long/short equity and managed futures are the strategies which are most likely to be subject to operational failure.


Castle Hall Alternatives Publishes White Paper on Hedge Fund Operational Failures: Launches “HedgeEvent” Database

MONTREAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Castle Hall Alternatives, the hedge fund industry’s leading provider of operational due diligence, today published its latest White Paper, ‘From Manhattan to Madoff: the Causes and Lessons of Hedge Fund Operational Failure.’ The Paper’s analysis and findings are based on HedgeEvent, a comprehensive, web-based database of more than 300 operational events, now available to Castle Hall’s due diligence clients. HedgeEvent supplements HedgeDiligence, the firm’s existing client web portal.

The White Paper may be downloaded from

Chris Addy, Castle Hall’s CEO, said “the colossal fraud perpetrated by Bernie Madoff, together with a number of other recent cases, has made investors acutely concerned by the risk of operational ‘blow ups’. However, there has been little systematic study of operational failure, meaning that investors have limited guidance as to the extent of this problem.”

“The creation of HedgeEvent, which has taken more than two years to compile, has enabled us to summarize key metrics related to hedge fund operational failure” said Addy. “From Manhattan to Madoff analyzes operational events by number, estimated loss, causal factor and by the strategy of the funds involved.”

HedgeEvent contains 327 cases of hedge fund operational failure through June 30, 2009. Madoff, with an estimated financial impact of $64 billion, is by far the largest; the remaining cases have an aggregate estimated financial impact of approximately $15 billion. Of the 327 operational events, 121 have an estimated impact of $10 million or more, and 31 of at least $100 million.

“While operational failures are material – Madoff spectacularly so – it does not seem that fraud is pervasive in the hedge fund industry” said Addy. “Investors should, however, be very focused on the lessons which can be learned from those hedge funds which did generate large losses. Many of these were well established firms which attracted capital from reputable investors.”

Across all Events, the most common causes of operational failure are theft and misappropriation followed by existence of assets (the manager claimed to own fake securities or operated a Ponzi scheme where reported assets did not exist). The most common strategies subject to operational failure are long / short equity followed by managed futures. It is notable that investors have traditionally viewed these strategies, holding largely exchange-traded securities, as straightforward with low operational risk.

“HedgeEvent is an invaluable tool for both Castle Hall and our clients” said Addy. “A lot can be learned from historical events: better knowledge can help investors avoid the losses, both monetary and reputational, of hedge fund operational failure.”

About Castle Hall Alternatives

Castle Hall Alternatives helps leading institutional investors, fund of funds, family offices and endowments identify and manage hedge fund operational risk. Castle Hall’s team draws on more than 30 years of direct due diligence experience and is the industry’s largest, dedicated provider of operational due diligence. More information is available at


Castle Hall Alternatives
Chris Addy, President and CEO, +1 450 465 8880
[email protected]


Other related hedge fund law and start up articles include:

For more information, please call Bart Mallon, Esq. at 415-296-8510

Deal Book: New Hedge Fund with Questionable Name

The New York Times Deal Book today ran a story about a new hedge fund named Ground Zero Strategic Commodities.  The author of the story noted that:

Putting the words “Ground Zero” in a hedge fund name may disturb many people as it undoubtedly conjures up images of the site where the World Trade Center was destroyed nearly eight years ago.

We agree.  Raising assets for hedge funds can be hard enough – a manager should try to choose a name for their fund that is not likely to put off potential investors.  We have written about hedge fund names before and while it is always advisable to try to have a name which represents the manager or strategy or outlook in some way, it should not be a distraction.


Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Series 79 Exam Available November 2, 2009

FINRA Announces Date of First Series 79 Exam

The new investment banking exam, the Series 79, will be available for those first new test takers on November 2, 2009 at any of the FINRA testing centers (Pearson and Prometric).  In addition to the test date announcement, FINRA also published a Series 79 Content Outline which seems to be very comprehensive.  We have provided an overview of the exam below and will continue to bring you updated information on this exam.

Also, please note that right now we do not know of any groups who have completed a Series 79 exam study guide, but we have had informal conversations with representatives from both STC and Kaplan – these representatives have stated that they are currently working on developing such a study guide which should be available soon.  We will let you know when these study materials become available.

Series 79 Overview

According to FINRA, the following are the key stats for the Series 79 exam:

  • Questions:  175 multiple choice questions (plus 10 pre-test, non-graded questions)
  • Time:  5 hours testing time
  • Eligibility:  FINRA member firm must sponsor the candidate
  • Application:   Submission of Form U-4 through Web CRD
  • Purpose:  This examination qualifies an individual to advise on or facilitate debt or equity offerings through a private placement or public offering or to advise or facilitate mergers or acquisitions, tender offers, financial restructurings, asset sales, divestitures or other corporate reorganizations or business combination transactions.

FINRA’s Stated Exam Purpose

The Series 79 Examination is designed to assess the competency of entry-level investment bankers. As a qualification examination, it is intended to safeguard the investing public by seeking to measure the degree to which each candidate possesses the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the major functions of an entry-level investment banker. Candidates should note that the duties and functions of the investment banker must be performed in accordance with just and equitable principles of trade, federal and state laws, and industry regulations. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the candidate to be aware of changes in current legislation, regulation and policy. A registrant who violates industry regulations is subject to disciplinary action, including censures, fines, suspension, and permanent loss of registration.


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to start a hedge fund. Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Bart Mallon, Esq. runs hedge fund law blog and has written most all of the articles which appear on this website.  Mr. Mallon’s legal practice is devoted to helping emerging and start up hedge fund managers successfully launch a hedge fund.  If you are a hedge fund manager who is looking to start a hedge fund, or if you have questions about the Series 79 or investment banking activities, please call Mr. Mallon directly at 415-296-8510.

Start a Hedge Fund in the Cayman Islands

How to Set Up a Cayman Islands Hedge Fund

There are two main jurisdictions to establish an offshore hedge fund (either as a single hedge fund or as part of a master-feeder structure).  The two jurisdictions are the BVI and the Cayman Islands.  This article will discuss some of the features of Cayman Island based hedge fund structures.

Why the Cayman Islands?

Cayman has been the leading jurisdiction for fund formation with an estimated 80% of the world’s hedge funds domiciled there.  As of December 2008, Cayman had over 10,000 hedge funds registered with the local regulatory authority: The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (“CIMA”).

First and foremost: establishing a fund in the Cayman Islands is easy and efficient, offering managers many competitive advantages over other jurisdictions including:

  • Non-public funds can be registered in as little as 3-5 days with CIMA and the vehicle of choice for the fund can be registered within 1 day prior to filing, if necessary;
  • Flexible statutory regimes, with an absence of exchange control provisions, that are well-established and relatively low-cost;
  • There are no restrictions on: (i) investment policy (ii) issue of equity interests (iii) prime brokers or (iv) custodians;
  • The regulatory and legislative environment is continuously evolving to strengthen the jurisdiction’s appeal for hedge funds in response to ever changing market conditions;
  • Cayman is a tax neutral jurisdiction – there are no capital gains, income, profits, withholding or inheritance taxes attaching to investment funds established there, nor to investors in such investment funds;
  • Cayman is a British Overseas Territory and as such maintains all of the security and stability associated with the British flag.  The UK remains responsible for the islands’ external affairs, defence and their legal system; and
  • The quality and expertise of the Cayman Islands local services, infrastructure and legal system is well above par.

Does Every Hedge Fund Have to be Registered with CIMA?

While most funds (90%) will be required by Cayman Islands law to register with CIMA, there are some funds that will not: those funds where the equity interests are not held by more than 15 investors who collectively have the power to appoint or remove the “operator” of the fund i.e. the director, trustee, or general partner, depending on the fund’s choice of vehicle.  For example, a private fund or closely held funds such as partners’ funds or those in incubation “testing the waters” before launching into the registered world.  These funds need not make filings or pay fees to CIMA.

All other funds must register with CIMA, pay annual fees and undergo annual auditing.

What are the CIMA Hedge Fund Registration Requirements?

1.  Incorporation/Formation of the fund vehicle.  The fund must be in the form of one of three vehicles: i) a Cayman Islands Exempted Company (most common); ii) a Unit Trust; or iii) an Exempted Limited Partnership.  (The latter is popular with US investors as the Cayman Islands Exempted Limited Partnership Law follows the equivalent legislation in Delaware.)  There must be a minimum of two (2) directors appointed to the fund – corporate or individuals.  The directors need not be local.

2.  Preparation of the fund’s Offering Document.

3.  Preparation of the fund’s constitutional documents (i.e. Memorandum and Articles of Association) to reflect the terms of the Offering Document.  This is usually done by way of amending and restating the constitutional documents after the vehicle for the fund has been properly formed (see 1 above).

4.  Preparation of the service agreements i.e. administration agreement/investment management agreement/advisory agreement etc.

5.  Preparation of the form of subscription agreement to be executed by the investors of the fund.

6.  Resolutions must be passed approving: the Offering Document, service agreements and the issue of equity interests by the fund.

7.  All of the following documents must then be submitted to CIMA:

i)    A certified copy of the fund’s certificate of incorporation (or otherwise, depending on the vehicle used);
ii)    Fund’s Offering Document;
iii)    Application Form (“Form MF1”);
iv)    Auditor’s letter of consent; (A local auditor must be appointed.  Such auditor must also sign off on the fund’s audited financial statements which are to be submitted annually to CIMA.)
v)    Administrator’s letter of consent (no requirement for local administrator);
vi)    Registration fee (approximately US$3,000 (subject to change))

What Are the Costs for CIMA Registered Funds?

The total approximate costs of setting up a Cayman Islands Hedge Fund will include: the incorporation/formation costs of the vehicle required plus the ongoing annual fee (for exempted companies); the annual administrator’s fee; the annual auditor’s fee; the initial registration fee of the fund with CIMA and an annual fee to maintain the fund’s registration, and any legal fees associated therewith.

Quotes for incorporation etc. and estimates for services may be obtained from service providers and legal counsel directly, as these will likely vary.  Legal counsel may provide recommendations for service providers upon request.

Article Written by Michelle Richie


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to start a hedge fund. Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Bart Mallon, Esq. has written most all of the articles which appear on the Hedge Fund Law Blog.  Mr. Mallon’s legal practice, Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP, is devoted to helping emerging and start up hedge fund managers successfully launch a hedge fund.  If you are a hedge fund manager who is looking to start a hedge fund, or if you have questions about investment adviser registration with the SEC or state securities commission, please call Mr. Mallon directly at 415-296-8510.

The Future of Hedge Funds: A Look at the Industry and Opportunities for Women

What the Future Holds for Women in the Hedge Fund Industry

Occasionally we will have readers submit potential articles for publication on this website which is the case with the post below.  If you are interested in having your article re-published on our website, please contact us.

Hedge Fund Research, Inc. (HFRI) recently conducted a study that shows a recent increase in quarterly assets invested in the hedge fund industry as well as a rise in the number of funds.   This data leads some experts to remain hopeful that the industry as a whole can sustain the impact of the financial crisis, and it begs the question as to how newcomers to the industry will be impacted by the new the impetus for regulation and transparency.

Kelly Chesney, and industry expert and co-founder of a well-known investment management company, maintains that the move towards regulation and transparency will be a good thing for the industry as a whole, but the cost of such regulation may raise the barrier to for women trying to enter a largely male-dominated industry. Currently, only three percent of hedge funds are led by women.  Opinions vary as to how the high costs of running a fund will impact women trying to enter the industry and run their own business. Typically, smaller and newer funds will have a more difficult time trying to keep up with the rising costs of compliance given their relatively low assets under management. Opinions vary as to how the high costs of running a fund will impact women trying to enter the industry and run their own business.  Some experts, like Chesney, remain hopeful that opportunities do exist out there for women and perhaps the future will find more female hedge fund managers than we see today.

The article published by The Glass Hammer can be found here and is also reprinted in full below.


The Future of Hedge Funds

by Liz O’Donnell (Boston)

New data from Hedge Fund Research, Inc., (HFRI) shows assets invested in the industry increased by $100 billion in the second quarter of 2009, ending at $1.43 trillion. This is the first quarterly increase in assets since second quarter of 2008. HFRI attributes the growth to gains shown during the quarter. The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index returned 9.13 percent. This is the best quarterly gain since the last quarter of 1999, although still below the highest peak, reached in 1997. And while investors are still redeeming capital, the pace of the redemptions has slowed from recent years.

But looking past the most current returns, what does the future hold for the hedge fund industry given the tremendous impact of the global financial crisis and amid discussions of government regulations? And what about the outlook for women? Will the recent inflow mean more opportunities or will women still be virtually missing from the industry this time next year?

“Right now hedge funds are a hot topic,” says Kelly Chesney, principal and co-founder of Pluscios Management LLC, a women-owned investment management firm. “I think they really got some negative press and sentiment last year and they are starting to turn around. There is more publicity when hedge funds don’t perform well, but they did much of what was expected.”

Following what she calls “an economic tsunami”, Chesney, and others, see consolidation and regulation as key issues that will impact the industry. “I think it will be choppy and we’ll have various events happen over the next few years. We need to be nimble and adaptive and hedge funds are good at that,” Chesney says.

Certainly the industry has already seen the beginnings of consolidation. After a rapid growth spurt, (the number of funds grew from 610 in 1990 to approximately 9,000 today) 15 percent of funds have disappeared. State Street, in its recently released report “Alternatives: New Views of the Hedge Fund Industry” says that half of all hedge funds may disappear before the crisis shakes out.

Eloise Yellen Clark, founder and CEO of OmniQuest Capital LLC, agrees consolidation will be a continuing trend. “More and more money is going to the bigger players where traditionally there was a bunch of little players. It gets awfully expensive for smaller (funds) to survive.”

As far as what the future holds, Clark says, “Everybody’s talking regulation. I really don’t think it’s a big deal and I think it’s a good idea.” Clark points out that many hedge funds and many managers are already registered with the SEC. She believes more regulation around the issue of transparency would be valuable. Of course, just how far the government takes regulation could be an issue. “On the whole, reasonable regulation that respects fair markets is good. Transparency is good. But limiting the ability to buy and sell is bad,” said Clark.

Chesney says “absolutely” regulation will be a factor moving forward. “It’s not like there hasn’t been regulation.” But that regulation could increase. “It depends on what it is,” she says. “It could be wide ranging — from every fund must register—or it could be a ban on short selling.”

Some funds are “hedging” their bets. Aimee McCarty, marketing director for Ascentia Capital Partners, LLC, says her firm closed its hedge fund and now offers a mutual fund. According to McCarty, the new product combines the benefits of hedge funds with the features of mutual funds to offer a product that is “regulated, transparent, and liquid.” AQR Capital Management LLC added a mutual fund to its product offering earlier in the year.

Diversification might spell survival for some financial firms. Chesney believes it will get more expensive to run a fund, as compliance with regulations will add a new level of management. “There will be a higher barrier to entry,” she says.

That high cost of entry might not bode well for women. Already, there are very, very few women in the hedge fund industry. Currently only three percent of hedge funds are led by a woman. A recent report from The National Council for Research on Women, which we reported on here , asserts that one of the major reasons there are so few women in the industry is that gaining access to capital is harder for women than it is for men.

Chesney says,

“Typically women who get frustrated in other industries go out and start their own thing. But it’s tougher for women on Wall Street (because of) getting assets to manage.” None the less, Chesney is hopeful about the future of women in hedge funds. “I think there are going to be a lot of opportunities.”

Clark, who currently sees very few women in the business, says: “It’s my belief that women are different in business than men. Any organization that combines that is optimal.”

Chesney agrees. “Key in any fund management is diversification.” Whether that diversification extends beyond the fund and to the fund managers, is still to be seen.


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to start a hedge fund.  Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Over-the-Counter Derivatives Markets Act of 2009

Obama Administration to Regulate Derivatives Markets

Today the Treasury announced that the Obama Administration proposed a bill named the “Over-the-Counter Derivatives Markets Act of 2009”.  The bill proposes to amend a number of the securities laws (including the Commodity Exchange Act, the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934), to regulate the OTC derivatives markets.  A summary of the release is reprinted below.  For the full legislation, please see Over-the-Counter Derivatives Markets Act of 2009.


August 11, 2009

Administration’s Regulatory Reform Agenda Reaches New Milestone: Final Piece of Legislative Language Delivered to Capitol Hill

For the legislative language, visit link.

Acting on its commitment to restoring stability in our financial system, the Administration delivered legislative language to Capitol Hill today focusing on the regulatory reform of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives. One of the most significant changes in the world of finance in recent decades has been the explosive growth and rapid innovation in the markets for credit default swaps (CDS) and other OTC derivatives.  These markets have largely gone unregulated since their inception.  Enormous risks built up in these markets – substantially out of the view or control of regulators – and these risks contributed to the collapse of major financial firms in the past year and severe stress throughout the financial system.

Under the Administration’s legislation, the OTC derivative markets will be comprehensively regulated for the first time.  The legislation will provide for regulation and transparency for all OTC derivative transactions; strong prudential and business conduct regulation of all OTC derivative dealers and other major participants in the OTC derivative markets; and improved regulatory and enforcement tools to prevent manipulation, fraud, and other abuses in these markets.

Today’s delivery marks an important new milestone, as the Administration has now delivered a comprehensive package of financial regulatory reform legislation to Capitol Hill.  Less than two months since the release of its white paper, “Financial Regulatory Reform: A New Foundation,” on June 17, the Administration has successfully translated all of its proposals into detailed legislative text – a remarkable effort in both speed and scope.  The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to pass a comprehensive regulatory reform bill by the end of the year.

As part of the Administration’s proposed legislation, credit default swap markets and all other OTC derivative markets will be subject to comprehensive regulation in order to:

  • Guard against activities in those markets posing excessive risk to the financial system
  • Promote the transparency and efficiency of those markets
  • Prevent market manipulation, fraud, insider trading, and other market abuses
  • Block OTC derivatives from being marketed inappropriately to unsophisticated parties

These goals will be reached through comprehensive regulation that includes:

  • Regulation of OTC derivative markets
  • Regulation of all OTC Derivative dealers and other major market participants
  • Preventing market manipulation, fraud, insider trading, and other market abuses
  • Protecting unsophisticated investors

Regulation of OTC Derivative Markets

Require Central Clearing and Trading of Standardized OTC Derivatives:

  • To reduce risks to financial stability that arise from the web of bilateral connections among major financial institutions, the legislation will require standardized OTC derivatives to be centrally cleared by a derivatives clearing organization regulated by the CFTC or a securities clearing agency regulated by the SEC.
  • To improve transparency and price discovery, standardized OTC derivatives will be required to be traded on a CFTC- or SEC-regulated exchange or a CFTC- or SEC-regulated alternative swap execution facility.

Move More OTC Derivatives into Central Clearing and Exchange Trading:

  • Through higher capital requirements and higher margin requirements for non-standardized derivatives, the legislation will encourage substantially greater use of standardized derivatives and thereby will facilitate substantial migration of OTC derivatives onto central clearinghouses and exchanges.
  • The legislation proposes a broad definition of a standardized OTC derivative that will be capable of evolving with the markets.

o An OTC derivative that is accepted for clearing by any regulated central clearinghouse will be presumed to be standardized.
o The CFTC and SEC will be given clear authority to prevent attempts by market participants to use spurious customization to avoid central clearing and exchange trading.

Require Transparency for All OTC Derivative Markets:

  • Accordingly, all relevant federal financial regulatory agencies will have access on a confidential basis to the OTC derivative transactions and related open positions of individual market participants.
  • In addition, the public will have access to aggregated data on open positions and trading volumes.

Regulation of All OTC Derivative Dealers and Other Major Market Participants

Extend the Scope of Regulation to Cover all OTC Derivative Dealers and other Major Participants in the OTC Derivative Markets:

  • Our legislation will require, for the first time, the federal supervision and regulation of any firm that deals in OTC derivatives and any other firm that takes large positions in OTC derivatives.

Bring Robust and Comprehensive Prudential Regulation to all OTC Derivative Dealers and other Major Participants in the OTC Derivative Markets:

  • Under the legislation, OTC derivative dealers and major market participants that are banks will be regulated by the federal banking agencies.  OTC derivative dealers and major market participants that are not banks will be regulated by the CFTC or SEC.
  • The federal banking agencies, CFTC, and SEC will be required to provide robust and comprehensive prudential supervision and regulation – including strict capital and margin requirements – for all OTC derivative dealers and major market participants.
  • The CFTC and SEC will be required to issue and enforce strong business conduct, reporting, and recordkeeping (including audit trail) rules for all OTC derivative dealers and major market participants.

Preventing Market Manipulation, Fraud, and other Market Abuses

Provide the CFTC and SEC with the Tools and Information Necessary to Prevent Manipulation, Fraud, and Abuse:

  • The legislation gives the CFTC and SEC clear, unimpeded authority to deter market manipulation, fraud, insider trading, and other abuses in the OTC derivative markets.
  • The CFTC and SEC will be given the authority to set position limits and large trader reporting requirements for OTC derivatives that perform or affect a significant price discovery function with respect to regulated markets.
  • The full regulatory transparency that the legislation will bring to the OTC derivative markets will assist regulators in detecting and deterring manipulation, fraud, insider trading, and other abuses.

Protecting Unsophisticated Investors

Better Protect Unsophisticated Investors from Abuse in the OTC Derivative Markets:

  • The legislation will tighten the definition of eligible investors that are able to engage in OTC derivative transactions to better protect individuals and small municipalities.


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to start a hedge fund. Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Bart Mallon, Esq. runs hedge fund law blog and has written most all of the articles which appear on this website.  Mr. Mallon’s legal practice is devoted to helping emerging and start up hedge fund managers successfully launch a hedge fund.  If you are a hedge fund manager who is looking to start a hedge fund, or if you have questions about investment adviser registration with the SEC or state securities commission, please call Mr. Mallon directly at 415-296-8510.

Hedge Funds and Bloomberg

Many hedge fund managers were introduced to the Bloomberg terminal when they began their trading careers.  The terminal, with its iconic user interface which has changed only by small increments over time, can be found in most large asset management companies as well as in smaller groups like family offices, fund of hedge funds, hedge funds and even single manager investment advisory firms.  The breadth and depth of the Bloomberg services may be matched by other similar financial information and news services (like Thompson/Reuters), but managers and traders seem to be drawn to the Bloomber services nonetheless.  Below is an overview of information we compiled on the Bloomberg services – please feel free to share any thoughts in the comments below.


Bloomberg Terminal Information Overview

What is Bloomberg?

The Bloomberg terminal is a computer system that enables financial professionals to access the Bloomberg Professional service through which users can monitor and analyze real-time financial market data movements and place trades. The system also provides news, price quotes, and messaging across its proprietary and secure network. Most large financial firms have subscriptions to the Bloomberg Professional service, and many exchanges charge their own additional fees for access to real-time price feeds across the terminal.

What services does Bloomberg offer?

Bloomberg offers financial professionals access to a top-of-the-line financial, regulatory, and market database. The system is of particular benefit to investors, as it allows them to simultaneously:

  1. access, process, and store information on the companies they wish to monitor;
  2. teleconference with colleagues around the world; and
  3. monitor the relationship between domestic and foreign currencies.

The activities for which Bloomberg users most commonly subscribe to the service include, but are not limited to:

  • Earnings Estimates
  • Analyst  Recommendations
  • Related Securities
  • Various graphs of a company’s stock price
  • Stock screening search: Search for equities based on user-defined criteria
  • Corporate Actions: Calendar of events that might impact markets
  • Corporate actions of a specific company
  • Broad information on U.S. Treasury and Money Markets
  • U.S. Economic surveys and releases
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Home Page
  • Current news and deals

Bloomberg Mobile, which is a free mobile application for iPhone and Blackberry users,  doesn’t offer quite the same level of functionality as the full Bloomberg terminal, but it is a beautifully designed app that provides up-to-the-minute news, stock quotes, company descriptions, and price chart and market trend analysis. The My Stocks feature is a more detailed replacement for Apple’s Stocks app. Additionally, Bloomberg Mobile takes full advantage of the iPhone’s position sensor by providing larger charts when you rotate the phone to a horizontal position.

The Bloomberg Platform & Equipment

The Bloomberg terminal implements a client-server architecture with the server running on a multiprocessor UNIX platform.  Although the look and feel of the Bloomberg keyboard is very similar to the standard computer keyboard, there are several enhancements that help a user navigate through the system.  Originally a self-contained operating system running on custom hardware, the Bloomberg Terminal now functions as an application within the Windows environment.  There are essentially three levels to the system:

(1) The Core Terminal:

This is the original system, consisting typically of 4 windows, each containing a separate instance of the terminal command line. By entering tickers and functions, data can be displayed and programs run to analyze it. This seemingly large number of windows allows users to call up several entirely different sets of data, and compare it quickly; for those users who have more than one computer display, each terminal window can be assigned independently, creating, in effect, four terminals.

(2) The Launchpad:

Launchpad is a customizable display consisting of a number of smaller windows, called ‘components’, each of which is dedicated to permanently displaying one set of data. A typical user would be a stockbroker who wishes to keep a list of 30 stocks visible at all times: Launchpad creates a small component which will show these prices constantly, saving the broker from having to check each stock independently in the terminal. Other functions, such as email inboxes, calculation tools and news tickers can be similarly displayed. The Instant Bloomberg messaging/chat tool is another Launchpad component that allows brokers to communicate instantly with other Bloomberg users.

(3) Application Programming Interface:

The final level of the Bloomberg system is the ability to export data from the terminal to 3rd party applications, such as Microsoft Excel. A user might wish to use Bloomberg data from the terminal to create his or her own calculations; by exporting the live data into another program, they can build these formulae. Bloomberg supports this through a range of add-ins which are packaged with the terminal software.

How much does Bloomberg cost?

While Bloomberg offers a great variety of services, it is relatively expensive.  Monthly rates can be as high as $1,500 – $1,800 per month.  However, as Bloomberg saw a decline in revenue over 2007 and 2008, it is to be expected that the rates will come down  by the end of 2009.  Although Bloomberg has become an institutional cornerstone in the finance world, leading competitors for electronic financial data provision include Thomson/Reuters, Morgan Stanley, FactSet Research Systems, Jackson Terminal, Advantage Data Inc., Fidessa and Dow Jones.


Bloomberg Terminal currently caters to more than 300,000 users worldwide, and is highly regarded by financial professionals as a powerful data-warehouse for institutional investors.  Since the relatively high ongoing cost makes it unfeasible for individual investors with relatively small amounts of capital to purchase, the product targets a unique subsector of investors with the purchasing power to enjoy the benefits of comprehensive access to the financial marketplace.


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to start a hedge fund.  Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Investment Adviser Registration Filing Tips

How to get an IA application approved quickly

Occasionally we find the opportunity to comment on other blog posts from other legal professions within and outside of the investment management industry.  A legal blogger who I regularly follow is David Feldman from the Reverse Mergers & SPAC Blog.  David is the expert in the reverse mergers field and has authored the authoritative text Reverse Mergers: Taking a Company Public Without an IPO (Bloomberg Press).  In his post yesterday, Speeding a Self-Filing, he discusses some tips that are designed to help self-filers get through the registration process as quickly as possible.  The points are well-received and I would like to take the opportunity to discuss a couple of the points as they relate to the investment adviser registration process with the various state securities commissions.  [Note: unlike other types of regulatory filings with the SEC, a SEC investment advisor registration is fairly quick and relatively straightforward.  Managers should be aware, however, that the SEC is likely to do a quick examination within the first couple of months after a hedge fund manager registers with the SEC.  Usually this is to make sure the advisor is broadly aware of the compliance issues involved with being registered with the SEC.]


Tip 1

Respond quickly to comments: Management is busy, so are the lawyers and accountants. Nevertheless, one part of the process in your control is how fast you get back to the SEC when they have comments. If you care about getting the self-filing done quickly, drop everything and get the response done as soon as possible.

HFLB thoughts: it is the rare case when a state investment advisor registration gets approved without some sort of comment or inquiry from the securities commission.  Depending on the state, the inquiry can be more or less detailed and probing.  In most cases, however, once an inquiry is provided to the applicant, registration is likely to be right around the corner.  Accordingly, once an inquiry is provided to the manager, the manager and the lawyer should work to get a response drafted immediately.

Tip 2

Don’t argue on comments you will probably give in on later: Often a company or accountant will say, well, we think they will very likely not give us any room on our response, but let’s try and see what happens. If you care about the speed of the process, it is usually not worth challenging comments if your advisers believe there is virtually no chance of success.

HFLB thoughts: we would also like to add that if the regulators are asking for something that does not materially affect the investment program or the manner in which the management company will operate, the manager might be better off acquiescing instead of fighting.  I have had groups fight with regulators on principles only to later abandon the fight for practicality.  There is definitely an element of picking your battles wisely.

Tip 3

Always be respectful: The SEC is an important and powerful government agency. Almost everyone I have worked with there are highly intelligent and well-meaning folks. But their focus sometimes jibes with that of companies they are seeking to regulate for the protection of investors. Make sure you are always respectful and responsive to the SEC. Not only do they deserve it, but belligerence is just as likely to lead to more ire from them than positive results.

HFLB thoughts: this is an extremely important point.  Regulators are charged with a tough and important job and it does not help anyone to be anything less than absolutely respectful.

Many of the above comments apply equally as well for those groups who are registering with other regulatory bodies such as the CFTC (as a CPO or a CTA) and who need to go through the NFA disclosure document review process.


Please contact us if you have any questions about investment advisor registration or if you would like information on starting a hedge fund. Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Bart Mallon, Esq. runs hedge fund law blog and has written most all of the articles which appear on this website.  Mr. Mallon’s legal practice, Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP, is devoted to helping emerging and start up hedge fund managers successfully launch a hedge fund.  If you are a hedge fund manager who is looking to start a hedge fund, or if you have questions about investment adviser registration with the SEC or state securities commission, please call Mr. Mallon directly at 415-296-8510.