Monthly Archives: October 2012

Hedge Fund Seed Deals Overview

Seed Capital Arrangements for Hedge Fund Managers

We receive numerous inquiries from new managers seeking capital sources in today’s challenging financial climate. Recent regulatory changes have increased legal and compliance costs associated with launching a hedge fund and many smaller investors are wary to invest with first time managers, despite their potential to generate alpha. One way emerging managers can secure the much needed capital is via a “seed deal” whereby a seed capital provider (the “Seeder”) makes a significant capital investment (the “Investment’) in the manager’s fund (the “Fund”) in exchange for a share of the management fees and/or incentive fees. In addition to providing the manager with start-up operating and investment capital, the manager gets additional credibility with prospective investors. This article will summarize some of the basic terms involved in seed deals, as well as a number of issues a manager should consider. Please note that each seed deal is unique and a manager should work with experienced counsel to negotiate the appropriate terms.

Seed Deal Basics

Investment.

The amount of Investment can range greatly, the initial funding can be as much as $150 million

or as little as $1 million depending on a variety of factors.

Lock-Up Period.

Depending on the size of the Investment and other negotiated terms, the Seeder will generally commit keep the Investment in the Fund for a period 2 to 4 years, subject to certain early withdrawal rights, including but not limited to:

    • Violation of proscribed investment guidelines;
    • Decline of Investment by a certain percentage;
    • Misconduct by the manager or its principals;
    • Key man provisions or change of control; and
    • Reaching a certain AUM threshold.

Share of Revenues.

In exchange for the Investment, the Seeder receives a percentage of the manager’s revenues (including management fees and/or incentive fees) lasting in perpetuity or for a specified term. This arrangement is usually accomplished in one of two ways:

1. Equity Interest: The Seeder receives a direct equity interest in the management entity and typically receives revenues “net” of expenses. In this type of deal, the Seeder will generally require limitations or consent for expenses.

2. Fee Sharing Agreement: The Seeder enters into a profit/fee sharing agreement with the manager whereby the Seeder will be entitled to a portion of the management and/or incentive fees received by the manager. Fee sharing agreements have been more common as they offer greater freedom for the manager to operate its business. In this type of arrangement, the fees will generally be calculated on a gross basis. The actual sharing percentage varies depending on the amount of the Investment; however, amounts from 15 to 30% are common.

Seeder Rights and Obligations

Depending on the size of the Investment, the Seeder may obtain certain special rights, including but not limited to:

  • Access to Fund records and accounts, including “side letters” with other investors;
  • Portfolio transparency;
  • Most Favored Nation treatment;
  • Capacity rights
  • Right of first refusal on launch of subsequent funds, service providers or corporate events;
  • Management and oversight rights, including budget approval, fund terms, investment guidelines and restrictions;
  • Special liquidity terms;
  • Notification of significant matters and periodic meetings with principals of the manager.

The Seeder may agree to serve on an advisory committee for the manager, assist in the marketing of the Fund, and/or provide office space or other specified services to the manager.

Fund Manager Obligations

Depending on the size of the Investment, the manager may agree to additional obligations, including but not limited to:

Principal Investment

Principals of the manager agree to make and maintain a certain investment in the Fund, and may be required to re-invest a portion of received inventive allocation.

Revenue Share of All Fees

The fee sharing agreement will include all fees the manager receives from its investment management related activities (including other funds or managed accounts managed by the manager).

Non-Compete/Non-Solicitation

Principals of the manager will be prohibited from forming other management companies or funds for a period of time and may agree to a specific time commitment. In addition, the principals will agree to not solicit other employees of the manger or the Seeder for a period of time after they leave.

Representations, Warranties and Covenants

The manager will be required to make certain representations, warranties and covenants relating to regulatory and compliance issues.

Indemnification

The Seeder will usually be fully indemnified by the manager against losses arising out of the seed agreement or the investment in the Fund or any Fund document.

Additional Considerations

When contemplating entering into a seed deal arrangement, the manager should also consider the following:

Buyout Rights

The manager may request the right to buyout (in whole or in part) the Seeder’s interest in the Fund, after a specified number of years or upon receiving a certain amount of fees. The buyout price can be determined ahead of time and is generally determined by a formula based on Investor receiving a certain amount of fees or a certain rate of return on the Investment.

Put Rights

Similar to the above, the Seeder may also request the right to sell its interest back to the manager.

Tag Along Rights

In the event of a sale of the manager, the Seeder may request a provision that would require the purchaser to also buy out the Seeder’s interest in the manger on a pro rata basis.

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Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP is an investment management law firm focused on established and emerging hedge fund managers. If you have questions about hedge fund seed deals, please contact us.

 

Business Development Company (BDC) Overview and Formation

What is a Business Development Company?

Business Development Companies (“BDCs”) are a type of publicly-traded closed-end fund that are registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act”). BDCs are designed to facilitate the raising of capital by small, developing, and financially troubled companies that historically lacked access to the public capital markets. A BDC is required to make available “significant managerial assistance” to the companies in which it invests including management and operational assistance. As such, BDCs are not intended to be passive investment vehicles. BDCs make investments in the form of long-term debt or equity capital with the goal of generating capital appreciation and/or current income. In recent years, a number of private equity managers have also launched BDCs as a means of accessing public capital.

BDC Advantages

BDCs are preferable to other investment funds for a number of reasons:

  • Unlike mutual funds and other open-end funds, BDCs provide the same liquidity to investors as other publicly traded investments.
  • BDC investors are not limited to “qualified purchasers” and investors need not meet income and net worth requirements.
  • BDC managers have access to permanent capital that is not subject to shareholder redemption.
  • Unlike other registered fund managers, BDC managers may charge performance fees (e.g. “2 and 20” incentive fees).

BDC Limitations

BDCs are subject to a number of restrictions and limitations including the following:

  • BDCs must maintain low leverage – total debt may not exceed total equity.
  • BDCs are restricted in their ability to enter into transactions with affiliates.
  • BDCs must adopt and implement policies and procedures designed to prevent violations of the federal securities laws and must appoint a chief compliance officer to administer these policies and procedures.
  • No single BDC investment can account for more than 25% of total holdings and 70% of all assets must be invested within a limited number of categories.
  • BDCs must distribute at least 90% of their taxable earnings quarterly.

Permissible Investments

Section 55 of the 1940 Act requires that a BDC invest at least 70% of its total assets in the following:

  • Privately issued securities purchased from issuers that are “eligible portfolio companies;”
  • Securities of eligible portfolio companies that are controlled by a BDC and of which an affiliated person of the BDC is a director;
  • Privately issued securities of companies subject to a bankruptcy proceeding, reorganization, insolvency or similar proceeding or otherwise unable to meet their obligations without material assistance;
  • Cash, cash items, government securities or high quality debt securities maturing in one year or less; and
  • Office furniture and equipment, interests in real estate and other similar non-investment assets incidental to the BDC’s operations.

Tax Treatment

BDCs are typically organized as limited partnerships or Subchapter M regulated investment companies in order to obtain pass-through tax treatment. Distributions to shareholders are taxable as either ordinary income or capital gains in the same manner as distributions from mutual funds.

BDC Formation

To become a BDC, a company must file Form N-6 with the SEC (intent to file a notification of election). Then, a company must file a notice on Form N-54A indicating that it elects to be regulated as a BDC under the 1940 Act. In order to elect to be regulated as a BDC, a company must register its equity securities under Section 12 of Securities Exchange Act of 1934. This registration requires BDCs to periodically file Form 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K as well as proxy statements with the SEC. A BDC must also register its securities under the Securities Act of 1933 by preparing and filing a Form N-2 registration statement which describes essential information about the BDC to help investors make informed investment decisions. The registration statement must disclose (i) the terms of the offering including number of shares and price, (ii) the intended use of the proceeds, (iii) investment objectives and strategies, (iv) risks associated with the investment, and (v) a description of the BDC’s management.

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Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP, an investment management law firm which provides legal services to the hedge fund industry. Bart Mallon can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.

Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP 4th Quarter Newsletter

Below is our quarterly newsletter which was sent to our clients and friends last week. If you would like to receive this news letter, please contact us.

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Clients and Friends:

There have been a number of new regulatory developments over the past three plus months of concern to investment managers, namely:

  • California Private Fund Adviser Exemption
  • CFTC Regulatory Changes
  • Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”)
  • JOBS Act

Below we detail these developments, provide some of our thoughts on the current regulatory environment and outline some items that managers should be aware of as this year comes to a close. Please feel free to contact us with any thoughts or questions on these matters.

California Private Fund Adviser Exemption

On August 27, 2012 the California Office of Administrative Law approved the long awaited private fund adviser exemption (“Private Fund Adviser Exemption”). The immediately effective exemption is only available to advisers who provide advice solely to “qualifying private funds,” which include venture capital funds, Section 3(c)(1) funds and Section 3(c)(7) funds. The Private Fund Adviser Exemption is not available to advisers who also manage separate accounts. Advisers to qualifying private funds who qualify for the Private Fund Adviser Exemption and manage less than $100,000,000 can file as “exempt reporting advisers” and thereby avoid the registration and compliance requirements in California. Specific requirements for advisers seeking to rely on the Private Fund Adviser Exemption can be found here.

CFTC Expanded Jurisdiction Over Certain Swaps

With the issuance of new rules from the CFTC affecting swaps, investment managers that trade swaps will need to determine whether the swaps they trade will subject the manager to CFTC regulation; and if so, whether CFTC registration is required or an exemption from registration is available. As of October 12, 2012 an investment manager that trades swaps covered by the new rules may find itself subject to regulation by the CFTC, even if the adviser does not trade futures or commodity interests. Similarly, an adviser to a commodity pool that trades swaps and is currently relying on Regulation 4.13(a)(3) – the “de minimis” exemption from CFTC regulation for advisers who trade only minimal futures, commodity interests and swaps – will need to reassess whether it can still fit within this exemption after taking into account its swaps trading.

CFTC Regulatory Changes

Recent regulatory changes, which become effective on December 31, 2012, require advisers to private funds or accounts using commodity futures, commodity options and other CFTC regulated derivatives to register with the CFTC or rely on an exemption from such registration. These changes include:

  • CFTC Regulation 4.13(a)(4) Exemption Rescinded: Managers to funds offered only to “qualified eligible persons” have previously relied on this exemption from CPO registration. This exemption will no longer be available as of December 31, 2012.
  • CFTC Regulation 4.13(a)(3) De Minimus Exemption: Managers to commodity pools with a limited use of commodity interests can rely on this exemption from registration as a CPO. However, with the CFTC’s extended jurisdiction over swaps, many pools may no longer qualify and must register as a CPO with the CFTC.
  • Annual Re-Certification: CPOs and CTAs relying on exemptions from registration will be required to re-certify their qualifications annually on a calendar-year basis, beginning on December 31, 2012.
  • New Reporting Requirements: Registered CPOs and CTAs must file certain new reports and include standardized risk disclosure to describe risks of swap transactions in the disclosure documents.

FATCA

Enacted by Congress as part of the HIRE Act of 2010 with the goal to combat tax evasion, FATCA will go into effect on January 1, 2013. The new regulations will require financial institutions to identify and disclose direct and indirect U.S. investors and withhold U.S. income tax on nonresident aliens and foreign corporations, or be subject to a 30% FATCA tax. Foreign financial institutions, which include hedge funds, funds of funds, commodity pools and other offshore investment vehicles, will be required to enter into an agreement with the IRS by June 30, 2013 to avoid being subject to the FATCA tax. Domestic funds will also need to determine the FATCA status of each of their investors and will be subject to new withholding and reporting requirements for any recalcitrant investors. Final regulations have not been promulgated, however, managers should discuss compliance methods with their administrators and other third party service providers.

Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”)

The JOBS Act, signed into law in April 2012, has two big implications for the hedge fund industry:

  • The first, which was effective immediately, raised the maximum number of investors permitted in a 3(c)(7) fund from 499 to 1,999. Private funds relying on the 3(c)(1) exemption are still limited to 99 investors.
  • The second, which is still awaiting final rules by the SEC, lifts the ban on general solicitation and advertising under Rule 506 of Regulation D. The proposed amendments would allow issuers to use general solicitation and general advertising to offer securities, provided that the issuer takes reasonable steps to verify that the purchasers of the securities are accredited investors.

Managers should remember that while general solicitations may be allowable in the future, these rules are not yet final. In addition, all registered investment advisers will still be subject to applicable advertising regulations under the Investment Advisers Act. CFTC registered managers are still subject to certain CFTC regulations that prohibit marketing to the public, and managers that intend to rely on the 4.13(a)(3) “de minimus” exemption (discussed above) are also prohibited from marketing to the public.

Form PF

Managers to private funds who are registered (or required to be registered) as investment advisers with the SEC and have at least $150 million under management, will need to file Form PF with the SEC. The filings must be made either on a quarterly or annual basis, depending on the type of private fund and regulatory assets under management. For managers to hedge funds, the filings and compliance dates are as follows:

  • Greater than $5 billion regulatory AUM – The filing must be made on a quarterly basis, within 60 days of the end of each fiscal quarter, beginning on June 15, 2012.
  • At least $1.5 billion (but less than $5 billion) in regulatory AUM – The filing must be made on a quarterly basis, within 60 days of the end of each fiscal quarter, beginning on December 15, 2012.
  • At least $150 million (but less than $1.5 billion) in regulatory AUM – The filing must be made on an annual basis, within 120 days of the end of each fiscal year, beginning on December 15, 2012.

4th Quarter Items

  • January 1, 2013 Fund Launches – Managers seeking to launch a fund on the first of the year should begin the fund formation process as soon as possible in order to give themselves and service providers ample time to prepare during the busy season.
  • CFTC Regulatory Matters:
    • Managers should review the recently expanded list of CFTC regulated products to determine whether they will be subject to CFTC regulation. CPOs currently relying on CFTC Regulation 4.14(a)(4) will need to assess whether the commodity pool is eligible for the “de minimis” exemption or register with the CFTC as a CPO by December 31, 2012. CPOs currently relying on CFTC Regulation 4.13(a)(3) will need to evaluate whether the commodity pool is still eligible for the exemption.
    • CPOs and CTAs that have exemptive relief under CFTC Regulations will need to reconfirm their qualifications by December 31, 2012.
  • IARD Renewal – FINRA will be sending out notice reminders to facilitate the annual renewal of investment adviser registration. Preliminary Renewal Statements will be made available on IARD on November 12, 2012.
  • Form PF – As discussed above, managers to private funds with less than $5 billion regulatory AUM will need to make Form PF filings with the SEC beginning on December 15, 2012, on either a quarterly or annual basis, depending on the types of private funds managed and regulatory AUM.

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Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP is a premier boutique investment management law firm, providing top-tier, responsive and cost-effective legal solutions for financial services matters. Headquartered in San Francisco, Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP has an international practice that services both start-up investment managers as well as multi-billion dollar firms. The firm provides a full suite of legal services to the investment management community, including: hedge fund, private equity fund, and venture capital fund formation, adviser registration, counterparty documentation, SEC, CFTC, NFA and FINRA matters, seed deals, hedge fund due diligence, employment and compensation matters, and routine business matters. The firm also publishes the prominent Hedge Fund Law Blog (www.hedgefundlawblog.com) which focuses on legal issues that impact the hedge fund community. For more information please visit us at: www.colefrieman.com.

This newsletter is published as a source of information only for clients and friends of the firm and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The mailing of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Circular 230 Disclosure: Pursuant to regulations governing practice before the Internal Revenue Service, any tax advice contained herein is not intended or written to be used and cannot be used by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP is a California limited liability partnership and this publication may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions.

 

Hedge Fund Compliance & Due Diligence Webinar

Bart Mallon Speaker at Hedge Fund Compliance and Due Diligence Webinar

Due diligence continues to be a hot topic for fund managers; compliance has been a central issue for managers ever since SEC registration was required for those managers with more than $150M of AUM. Below is a release for webinar which will be taking place later this month. Bart Mallon will be speaking about the legal issues involved with compliance and due diligence.

Registration is free and sign up is here.

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Corgentum Consulting Hosts Hedge Fund Operational Due Diligence Webinar on Compliance and Legal Risk

Corgentum Consulting will host a complimentary Webinar titled, ‘Techniques for Analyzing Hedge Fund Compliance and Legal Risks During Operational Due Diligence’ on October 23, 2012, at 10:30am EDT

NEW YORK – Oct. 1, 2012 – Corgentum Consulting, the leading provider of the industry’s most comprehensive hedge fund operational due diligence reviews, will host a complimentary Webinar titled, “Techniques for Analyzing Hedge Fund Compliance and Legal Risks During Operational Due Diligence” on October 23, 2012, at 10:30am EDT. Join the speakers as they examine the effective techniques for evaluating a fund’s legal and compliance risks.

The global hedge fund regulatory landscape has undergone a number of recent significant changes. New SEC registration requirements and Form PF filings in the US continue to challenge hedge funds. Internationally, increased calls for Asian hedge fund regulation in countries such as Singapore and Australia, as well as discussions surrounding MiFID II and the EU passport directive in Europe, continue to complicate the web of legal and regulatory rules.

DATE: October 23, 2012

TIME: 10:30am to 11:30am EDT

SPEAKERS:

• Jason Scharfman, Managing Partner, Corgentum Consulting

• Paul Brook, Principal, Compliance Solutions Associates

Bart Mallon, Partner, Cole-Frieman Mallon & Hunt LLP

Some of the topics that will be covered during the Webinar include:

• Techniques for evaluating fund compliance programs

• Evaluating legal documentation risk

• Understanding the effects of recent hedge fund case law

• Monitoring ongoing fund adherence to regulatory requirements

If you are interested in joining the “Techniques for Analyzing Hedge Fund Compliance and Legal Risks During Operational Due Diligence” Webinar, please visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/389516416 or contact [email protected]

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About Corgentum Consulting

Corgentum Consulting is a specialist consulting firm which performs operational due diligence reviews of fund managers. The firm works with investors including fund of funds, pensions, endowments, banks and family offices to conduct the industry’s most comprehensive operational due diligence reviews. Corgentum’s work covers all fund strategies globally including hedge funds, private equity, real estate funds, and traditional funds. The firm’s sole focus on operational due diligence, veteran experience, innovative original research and fundamental bottom up approach to due diligence allows Corgentum to ensure that the firm’s clients avoid unnecessary operational risks. Corgentum is headquartered at 26 Journal Square, Suite 1005 in Jersey City, New Jersey, 07306. Phone 201-360-2430. The Web site is www.corgentum.com.

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Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP provides hedge fund compliance and legal services to investment management community. Bart Mallon can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.

 

Hedge Fund Events October 2012

The following are various hedge fund events happening this month. Please contact us if you would like us to add your event to this list.

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October 1

October 1-2

October 1-2

October 1-2

October 1-3

October 2

October 2

October 2

October 3

October 3

October 3

October 3

October 3-5

October 4

October 4

October 4

October 9

October 9

October 10

October 10-11

October 11

October 10-12

October 11-12

October 16

October 16

Location: Boston, MA

October 16

October 17

October 17

October 17-19

October 18

October 18

October 18-19

October 18-19

October 22

  • Sponsor: Liquidnet, Credit Suisse, Omgeo, Interactive Data, FXall, NYSE Euronext
  • Event: Linedata Exchange 2012
  • Location: New York, NY

October 23

October 23

October 24

  • Sponsor: Hedge Funds Care
  • Event: A Fall Affair
  • Location: Chicago, IL

October 24-25

October 25-26

October 29

October 30

October 30

October 30

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Cole-Frieman Mallon & Hunt LLP provides legal services for hedge fund managers and other groups within the investment management industry.  Bart Mallon can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.