Monthly Archives: April 2012

More on JOBS Act for Hedge Fund Managers

Below is the transcript of an interview I gave to Markets Reform Wiki. The discussion below is about how the recently enacted JOBS Act will affect the hedge fund industry. There has been an overwhelming amount of attention paid to this bill because it will, in certain ways, fundamentally change the way some managers (especially small and emerging) market their hedge fund going forward. We have also published other pieces about this issue and there will likely be a lot of discussion about hedge fund marketing related to the JOBS Act in the future.


Hedge Fund Marketing and the JOBS Act

Five Minutes with Bart Mallon, Cole-Frieman, Mallon & Hunt LLP

On April 5, 2012 President Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”). Inserted into the Act were provisions on hedge fund marketing and accredited investor restrictions. John Lothian News Editor-at-Large Doug Ashburn spoke with Bart Mallon of Cole-Frieman, Mallon & Hunt LLP about the JOBS Act provisions, what they entail and how it will affect the hedge fund community.

Q: On April 5, 2012 President Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”). Inserted into the Act were provisions on hedge fund marketing and accredited investor restrictions. What exactly do the provisions entail?

A: There is not actually any change in marketing provisions per se. What happened is the JOBS Act repealed earlier provisions in the securities laws which did not allow managers to have general solicitations with respect to their offerings. This essentially meant that managers could not solicit by advertising to the public through these private offerings and so managers really had to be careful when trying to grow the assets of their fund. One of the important things to note with respect to the provisions of the JOBS Act is that they can only market more freely if all of the investors of the fund are accredited investors. If they have non-accredited investors coming into the fund, then they cannot use these more liberal advertising means in order to solicit investors.

Q: Does this affect all types of fund structures?

A: For a 3(c)(1) fund structure, the accredited investor limit does not change. These managers are still limited to 99 individual investors. For 3(c)(7) funds, previously the limit was 499 investors. Now, that can be bumped up to 1999 investors. For 3(c)(7) funds, though, all investors must be qualified purchasers, which is actually a higher threshold than that of accredited investors.

Q: What do these marketing rules have to do with the JOBS Act, and why are they a part of it?

A: You have a couple things going on here. As people have been pointing out for a number of years, most of these securities laws were written in the 1930s, with the last one in 1940. The general nature of the industry has changed over the years; the JOBS Act is a reaction to some of the problems with these laws. Technological advances, and the ability of the internet to be a means of connecting with people in a way to market to potential investors – securities laws just do not address those issues. The JOBS Act was trying to find a way to balance investor protection of the securities laws with the ability for managers to go out and communicate and have a sort of certainty with respect to their activities on the internet.

Q: How will this change the way funds structure communication, such as on their web sites?

A: There is going to be a wide range of ways managers will be allowed to advertise. You will see more information available on their web sites and on hedge fund databases. You are also more likely to see hedge funds marketed in publications such as the Wall Street Journal or New York Times. There has also been talk that big fund complexes may have public advertising in sporting venues and such. I don’t know if it will come to that, but we are definitely going to see more fund managers trying to get out in front of the investing public and getting their name out there more. It will be interesting to see the avenues with which managers will use.

Q: Critics have suggested that this will be an invitation to some of the less scrupulous operators to come out of the woodwork to take advantage of the new rules. Do you see a problem with that?

A: Certainly, this is going to make the job of securities regulators much more difficult. Right now, with the restrictions, you don’t have a lot of managers out there touting performance and those sorts of things. Once you open up the floodgates and everyone starts doing it, it will be a lot harder for the SEC and for the state regulators to keep on top of what all these managers are showing. From a regulatory standpoint, in asking these agencies to enforce these securities laws and protect the investing public amid this deluge of advertising, I think becomes a tough task for the regulators. Savvy marketing people who might not have the best of intentions with respect to customer protections will have an easier time meeting population targets. That is one of the things Congress had to weigh when creating this law – investor protection versus capital formation and spurring the economy.

Q: The SEC has been given a timetable for the creation of a framework for these new rules. What do you expect to see in the SEC rulemaking?

A: I imagine we will see a lot of rulemaking on recordkeeping, and also on being able to back up any statements made in any advertising materials. It is clear that managers are going to need to make sure their investors are accredited investors, so I think there could be more of an onus on managers to do more fact-checking with respect to their investors.

But it really depends on how aggressive the SEC wants to be with respect to overseeing solicitations. The SEC is already an underfunded agency, so if they create more onerous rules for themselves to implement and oversee, they will be taking away from themselves internally. They have their own political balance they need to strike between promulgating rules that they can actually enforce, versus investor protection.

Bart Mallon is a partner and co-founder of Cole-Frieman Mallon & Hunt LLP, a San-Francisco-based law firm specializing in hedge fund and alternative investment legal services. His areas of specialization include setting up offshore hedge funds and separately managed structured accounts, and registration issues. Mallon is also the author of the Hedge Fund Law blog.


Cole-Frieman Mallon & Hunt provide legal advice to hedge fund managers with respect to all aspects of their business including marketing under the new JOBS Act provisions. Bart Mallon can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.

Investment Adviser Oversight Act of 2012

Bauchus-McCarthy Bill to Authorize IA SRO

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-LA) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) today introduced the payday loans

Investment-Adviser-Oversight-Act-of-2012.pdf”>Investment Adviser Oversight Act of 2012. The bill would allow for the creation of a self regulatory organization (SRO) for investment advisers, similar to FINRA for broker-dealers. Below we have reprinted the press release from the House Financial Services Committee website which can also be found here.

In addition to the press release, we will be posting other thoughts related to this story in the coming days and weeks. Links to this story will appear below along with other articles we have already posted on this topic:


Chairman Bachus and Rep. McCarthy Propose Bipartisan Bill for More Effective Oversight of Investment Advisers

Washington, Apr 25 –

Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a member of the Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation today to create more efficient and effective oversight of the retail investment advisory industry.

Chairman Bachus and Rep. McCarthy introduced their proposal in response to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) study that revealed the agency lacks resources to adequately examine the nation’s nearly 12,000 registered advisers. As part of its study, which was a requirement of the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC recommended a self-regulatory organization as one option for Congress to consider as it looks for ways to help the agency monitor the industry.

The Bachus-McCarthy bill would authorize one or more self-regulatory organizations (SROs) for investment advisers funded by membership fees.

Investment advisers and broker-dealers often provide indistinguishable services to retail customers, yet only 8 percent of investment advisers were examined by the SEC in 2011 compared to 58 percent of broker-dealers.

“The average SEC-registered investment adviser can expect to be examined less than once every 11 years. That lack of oversight, particularly in the aftermath of the Madoff scandal, is unacceptable,” said Chairman Bachus. “Bad actors will naturally flow to the place where they are least likely to be examined. Therefore, it is essential that we augment and supplement the SEC’s oversight to dramatically increase the examination rate for investment advisers with retail customers.

“Customers may not understand the different titles that investment professionals use but they do believe that ‘someone’ is looking out for them and their investments. For broker-dealers that is true, but for investment advisers, it is all too often not true and that must change,” concluded Chairman Bachus.

The legislation would amend the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to provide for the creation of National Investment Adviser Associations (NIAAs), registered with and overseen by the SEC. Investment advisers that conduct business with retail customers would have to become members of a registered NIAA. The SEC would have the authority to approve the registration of any NIAA.

The legislation permits the SEC to suspend or revoke an NIAA’s registration, or censure or impose limits on an NIAA’s activities and operations, if the SEC finds that the NIAA has violated the Advisers Act, SEC rules or its own rules. The SEC would also be able to suspend or revoke an NIAA’s registration if the association has failed to enforce compliance with any provision by an NIAA member firm or associated person.

The proposal requires the SEC to determine whether an NIAA has the capacity to carry out the purposes of the Advisers Act and to enforce compliance by its members and their employees with the Advisers Act, the SEC’s rules, and the NIAA’s rules before the association can register as an NIAA.

The proposal also recognizes the authority given to the states over small investment advisers in Title IV of the Dodd-Frank Act by preserving state authority over investment advisers with fewer than $100 million in assets under management, so long as the state conducts periodic on-site examinations.

In addition, the SEC must determine that the NIAA’s rules:

  • are designed to prevent fraud and protect investors;
  • are consistent with the Advisers Act and fiduciary duties under the Act and state law;
  • do not impose any burden on advisers that is not in the public interest or for investor protection;
  • provide for periodic examinations of members and their related persons, and for coordination of those examinations with the SEC and state securities authorities;
  • assure a fair representation of the public interest and the investment adviser industry in its selection of directors and administration of its affairs, and provide that a majority of its directors do not come from the securities industry; and
  • provide for equitable allocation of dues and fees and establish appropriate disciplinary procedures for members and their associated persons that violate the Advisers Act, SEC rules or NIAA rules.

Click here to view a copy of the bill.

Key Leaders Agree an SRO Will Result in More Effective Oversight and Stronger Protection for Investors

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro: “I think self-regulatory organizations, with close oversight from the federal government – can bring tremendous value to the protection of investors. So, it’s an area we are willing to explore because even though our budget is growing, we’re likely to never have all the resources we need to do everything that we’d like to do and the extent to which we can leverage SROs, accounting firms, whistleblowers, I am game to do that because I think it will allow us to do a better job.”

Testimony before the Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee, July 14, 2009

Former SEC Commissioner Roberta Karmel: “After the financial meltdown of 2008 and the Madoff bankruptcy, it would seem the height of political irresponsibility to allow the current inadequacies in the SEC’s examination capabilities to continue.

New York Law Journal, June 16, 2011

Consumer Federation of America’s Director of Investor Protection Barbara Roper: “Having spent the better part of two decades arguing for various approaches to increase SEC resources for investment adviser oversight with nothing to show for our efforts, we have been forced to reassess our opposition to the SRO approach. Specifically, we have concluded that a properly structured SRO proposal would be a significant improvement over the status quo.”

Testimony before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, July 12, 2011

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro: “…we have to find a way to have better oversight of intermediaries who have such enormous interplay with retail investors, and an SRO is one of the vehicles to do that.”

Testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, September 15, 2011

Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Chairman John Taft: “In the case of broker-dealers and independent investment advisers who provide personalized investment advice to retail customers, we believe comparable examination, oversight, and enforcement is most practically and readily achievable through use of an SRO.”

Testimony before the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, September 13, 2011

SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter: “We also have precedent, spanning more than seven decades, that SROs can significantly enhance the Commission’s examination and enforcement resources relating to its regulated entities … We need to address this issue now. It must not be relegated to another day—as has happened in the past. For far too long, in the investment advisory area, the Commission has been unable to perform its responsibilities adequately to fulfill its mission as the investor’s advocate, and investment advisory clients have not been adequately protected. This must change.”

Statement on Study Enhancing Investment Adviser Examinations, January 2011

House Budget Resolution FY 2012, Report 112-58: “During a time when trimming the deficit is imperative, the SEC should create headroom in its budget by streamlining and making more efficient its operations and resources; defraying taxpayer expenses by designating self-regulatory organizations (subject to SEC oversight) to perform needed examinations of investment advisors; and enhancing collaboration with other agencies, such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to reduce duplication, waste, and overlap in supervision.”

Department of the Treasury: “Treasury notes the rapid and continued convergence of the services provided by broker-dealers and investment advisers and the resulting regulatory confusion due to a statutory regime reflecting the brokerage and investment advisory industries of decades ago. An objective of this report is to identify regulatory coverage gaps and inefficiencies. This is one such situation in which the U.S. regulatory system has failed to adjust to market developments, leading to investor confusion. Accordingly, Treasury recommends statutory changes to harmonize the regulation and oversight of broker-dealers and investment advisers offering similar services to retail investors. In that vein, Treasury also believes that self-regulation of the investment advisory industry should enhance investor protection and be more cost-effective than direct SEC regulation. Thus, in effectuating this statutory harmonization, Treasury recommends that investment advisers be subject to a self-regulatory regime similar to that of broker-dealers.”

Blueprint for a Modernized Financial Regulatory Structure, March 2008


Cole-Frieman Mallon & Hunt LLP provides legal and investment adviser registration and compliance services to the hedge fund community. Bart Mallon can be reached directly at 415-86-5345.