California Based Hedge Fund Managers Receive Answers to Common Questions
As I have discussed many times before, each state securities division has different rules and regulations. In addition, each state has different interpretations of those rules and regulations. This makes it difficult for hedge fund managers to really know exactly what is required in each state unless they have representation from a specialized compliance group or hedge fund attorney. Many securities regulators, also, do not completely understand their own rule and regulations and are not able to provide any sort of practicle advice to hedge fund managers regarding their obligations. While not surprising, this lack of ability to provide general straight-forward answers to managers is what creates the need for specialized advice. Some states however are recognizing that there are common questions which arise and that it makes sense to provide answers to those common questions and the FAQ below, provided by the California State Securities Regulation Division is a step in the right direction towards increasing the dialogue between regulators and market participants.
The following summary is also very helpful for manager because it discusses some of the nuances of California law as it relates to investment advisors who are also hedge fund managers. Specifically the FAQ below deals with the issue of “custody,” the net worth requirements and the 120% net worth. Also discussed is the “gatekeeper” issue (also known as the independant secondary signer service).
The entire text of the FAQ is reprinted below. Please see below for additional hedge fund articles and please also see our guide to state hedge fund laws.
1) What responsibilities do I have as an investment adviser?
As an investment adviser, you are a “fiduciary” to your advisory clients. This means that you have a fundamental obligation to act in the best interests of your clients and to provide investment advice in your clients’ best interests. You owe your clients a duty of undivided loyalty and utmost good faith. You should not engage in any activity in conflict with the interest of any client, and you should take steps reasonably necessary to fulfill your obligations. You must employ reasonable care to avoid misleading clients and you must provide full and fair disclosure of all material facts to your clients and prospective clients.
So, what is considered material? Generally, facts are “material” if a reasonable investor would consider them to be important. It is something a client would want to consider in determining whether to hire the adviser or follow the adviser’s recommendations. You must eliminate, or at least disclose, all conflicts of interest that might incline you to render advice that is not in the best interest of the client. If you do not avoid a conflict of interest that could impact the impartiality of your advice, you must make full and frank disclosure of the conflict. You cannot use your clients’ assets for your own benefit or the benefit of other clients. Departure from this fiduciary standard may constitute “fraud” upon your clients.
2) How are “assets under management” determined?
In determining the amount of your assets under management, include the securities portfolios for which you provide continuous and regular supervisory or management services as of the date of filing Form ADV. You provide continuous and regular supervisory or management services with respect to an account if:
(1) You have discretionary authority over and provide ongoing supervisory or management services with respect to the account; or
(2) You do not have discretionary authority over the account, but you have an ongoing responsibility to select or make recommendations, based upon the needs of the client, as to specific securities or other investments the account may purchase or sell and, if such recommendations are accepted by the client, you are responsible for arranging or effecting the purchase or sale.
Other factors: You should also consider the following factors in evaluating whether you provide continuous and regular supervisory or management services to an account:
(a)Terms of the advisory contract.
If you agree in an advisory contract to provide ongoing management services, this suggests that you provide these services for the account. Other provisions in the contract, or your actual management practices, however, may suggest otherwise.
(b)Form of compensation.
If you are compensated based on the average value of the client’s assets you manage over a specified period of time, this suggests that you provide continuous and regular supervisory or management services for the account.
If you receive compensation in a manner similar to either of the following, this suggests you do not provide continuous and regular supervisory or management services for the account:
(a) You are compensated based upon the time spent with a client during a client visit; or
(b) You are paid a retainer based on a percentage of assets covered by a financial plan.
The extent to which you actively manage assets or provide advice bears on whether the services you provide are continuous and regular supervisory or management services. The fact that you make infrequent trades (e.g., based on a “buy and hold” strategy) does not mean your services are not “continuous and regular.”
3) Our firm is registered with the SEC or another state. Must we also register with the Department of Corporations?
SEC registered advisers with more than five clients who are residents of California must make a notice filing with the Department.
Other states registered investment advisers with a place of business in this state or more than five clients who are residents of California must also registered with the Department.
4) How does a firm convert from being a state-registered to an SEC-registered investment adviser or vice versa?
From State to SEC: To convert from being a state-registered adviser to being an SEC-registered adviser on the IARD system, mark the filing type “Apply for registration as an investment adviser with the SEC.” After the SEC approves your registration you should file a “Partial ADV-W” to withdraw your state registration(s). Do not file your Partial ADV-W until your application for SEC registration is approved or you will be unregistered and may be unable to conduct your business during this period of time.
From SEC to State: To convert from being a SEC-registered adviser to being a state-registered adviser, mark the filing type “Apply for registration as an investment adviser with one or more states.” After your state registration has been approved, then you should file a “Partial ADV-W” to withdraw your SEC registration. Do not file your Partial ADV-W until your state registration application(s) is approved by the Department or you will be unregistered and cannot conduct your business during this period of time.
5) What is an “investment adviser representative?”
An investment adviser representative (“IAR”), sometimes referred to as a registered adviser (“RA”), or associated person is defined in Code Section 25009.5(a) as any partner, officer, director of (or a person occupying a similar status or performing similar functions) or other individual, except clerical or ministerial personnel, who is employed by or associated with, or subject to the supervision and control of, an investment adviser that has obtained a certificate or that is required to obtain a certificate under this law, and who:
(1) Makes any recommendations or otherwise renders advice regarding securities,
(2) Manages accounts or portfolios of clients,
(3) Determines which recommendations or advice regarding securities should be given,
(4) Solicits, offers, or negotiates for the sale or sells investment advisory services, or
(5) Supervises employees who perform any of the foregoing.
Important: Each officer, director or partner exercising executive responsibility (or persons occupying a similar status or performing similar functions) or each person who owns 25% or more is presumed to be acting as an IAR or associated person.
6) I have an investment adviser representative who performs advisory services on behalf of my firm and is under my supervision. Does the investment adviser representative need to be registered with the Department?
Yes, investment adviser representatives must be registered with the Department if they have a place of business in California.
Important: This applies to both state (California and other states) and SEC registered investment advisers. Investment adviser representatives located in California or who have clients who are residents of California (whether they work for SEC, other states, or California’s registered investment adviser firms), must be registered with the Department.
7) How does my firm register individuals and what are the employment requirements?
Firms register individuals by completing Form U-4 through the electronic Central Registration Depository (“CRD”). Upon employment of an individual as an IAR, the investment adviser must obtain a properly executed Form U-4, evidence that the IAR meets the qualification requirements of CCR §260.236, and have the responsibility and duty to ascertain by reasonable investigation the good character, business reputation, qualifications, and experience of an individual upon employment or engagement as an IAR.
8) What are the qualification requirements for investment adviser representatives?
Each IAR, except those employed or engaged by an investment adviser solely to offer or negotiate for the sale of investment adviser services, must qualify by passing the examination(s) as specified in CCR §260.236(a). The examination requirements are the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination (“2000 Series 65”) passed on or after January 1, 2000; or the General Securities Representative Examination (“Series 7”) and Uniform Combined State Law Examination (“2000 Series 66”). Waivers and exemptions to the examination requirements may be found in subsection (b) and (c) of CCR §260.236, respectively. Individuals who hold in good standing an approved professional designation meet the exemption found in (c)(3) of CCR §260.236.
When a U-4 is filed to register someone as an IAR, the CRD will automatically open a Series 65 exam window if the individual is not shown as already having passed the exam, is not already licensed by another jurisdiction, or does not qualify for an automatic exam waiver.
9) What are the filing requirements for a firm who has an investment adviser representative?
(1) Employment –
Upon employment of an IAR, Form U-4, including any Disclosure Reporting Page(s), should be completed in accordance with the form instructions. The form is to be filed with, and the reporting fee paid to, CRD in accordance with its procedures. The filing of Form U- 4 with CRD does not constitute an automatic approval of the filing by the Commissioner. The investment adviser should not consider an IAR “registration” approved until approved by the Commissioner and notification of the approval has been received through CRD.
(2) Changes – Within 30 days of any changes to Form U-4, an amendment to Form U-4 is to be filed. The amendment is to be filed directly with CRD in accordance with its procedures.
(3)Termination – Within 30 days of termination of an IAR, Form U-5 is to be filed in accordance with the form instructions. Form U-5 is to clearly state the reason(s) for termination. This form is to be filed directly with CRD in accordance with its procedures.
10) What are the fees associated with registering an investment adviser representative?
The registration fee for each IAR is $25. This fee is paid to the Department through the IARD system. There is no annual renewal fee for an IAR.
There is also an annual filing fee of $30 for 2008 (subject to change for future years) that is paid to FINRA for the processing of forms for each IAR. FINRA charges this fee and the Department does not receive any portion of this.
11) Are owners and executive officers considered investment adviser representatives (IAR)? If so, how should I report owners and executive officers of my advisory firm to the Department?
All direct owners and executive officers should be reported on Schedule A of Form ADV and indirect owners should be reported on Schedule B of Form ADV.
Since officers, directors or partners who exercise executive responsibilities (or persons who occupy similar status or perform similar functions), or persons who own 25% or more are presumed to be IARs, a Form U-4 and a $25 reporting fee should be filed for each such individual through the Central Registration Depository (“CRD”).
A paper filing of Form U-4 should be filed directly with the Department for all other officers, directors or partners, or persons who own 10% or more who are not reported as IARs through the CRD.
12) I solicit clients for an investment adviser and receive referral fees for business I send to an investment adviser. Must I register?
Solicitors must be registered either as an investment adviser representative under a registered investment advisory firm or obtain their own independent registered investment adviser certificate.
13) I solely refer clients to registered investment advisers, what qualification requirements are there for solicitors?
Individuals who are reported as an IAR under an investment adviser solely to offer or negotiate for the sale of investment adviser services are exempted from the qualification requirements. However, solicitors seeking their independent registered investment advisory license must be qualified.
14) I’m a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and refer my clients to third-party investment advisers for referral fees, what qualifications and requirements must I follow?
A special case arises when a CPA acts as referring agent. Like a solicitor, the CPA must be registered either as an investment adviser representative under a registered investment advisory firm or obtain their own independent registered investment adviser certificate. The difference is that the CPA must be qualified by passing the examinations, unless waived or exempted, even if the CPA is to be reported as an investment adviser representative under a registered investment advisory firm. This is because, according to the California Business and Profession Code and the Board of Accountancy, in order for a CPA to receive compensation from a referral, the CPA must provide a professional service related to the product or services that will be provided to the client by the third-party service provider. In addition, the CPA must maintain independence and provide full disclosure of its referral arrangement to the clients.
Please refer to California Business and Profession Code, Section 5061 and California Board of Accountancy, Article 9, Section 56 for more information.
15) Must I have a written contract with my clients? If yes, what information should my advisory contracts contain?
Yes. Advisers providing services pursuant to advisory contracts that are written are considered to promote fair, equitable, and ethical principles. Advisory contracts with clients must be in writing and, at a minimum, must disclose:
(1) The services to be provided;
(2) The term of the contract;
(3) The advisory fee or the formula for computing the fee amount or the manner of calculation of the amount of the prepaid fee to be returned in the event of contract termination or nonperformance;
(4) Whether the contract grants discretionary power to the adviser or its representatives; and
(5) That the contract will not be assigned without the consent of the client.
Please refer to CCC Section 25234 and CCR Section 260.238 for more information.
Important: The Form ADV may not specifically request certain information, however; it is the adviser’s fiduciary duty to disclose all material information in order not to mislead clients, so that the client can make informed decisions about entering into or continuing the advisory relationship.
During the Department examination, examiner will view perceived conflicts from the point of view of the customer: Was the disclosure or lack of disclosure a factor in the client’s decision to use an adviser’s services or ratify an adviser’s recommendations? Was the customer misled? Was the customer placed at a disadvantage or taken unfair advantage of as a result of the conflict and the adviser’s lack of disclosure? The burden of proof lies with the adviser.
16) I provide financial planning services to my clients. What disclosure information must I provide in my advisory contracts for my clients?
Financial planners should provide proper disclosures relating to any inherent conflict of interest that may result from any compensation arrangements connected with the financial planning services that are in addition to the financial planning fees and other financial industry activities or affiliations.
Advisers who provide financial planning services and receive compensation (e.g. commissions, fees) from the sale of securities, insurance, real estate or other product or services recommended in the financial plan, or otherwise has a conflict of interest, must deliver to the financial planning clients a notice in writing containing at least the information found below (in addition to the disclosure items in Question 15 at the time of entering into a contract for, or otherwise arranging for the provision of, the delivery of a financial plan:
(1) A conflict exists between the interests of the investment adviser or associated person and the interests of the client, and
(2) The client is under no obligation to act on the investment adviser’s or associated person’s recommendation. Moreover, if the client elects to act on any of the recommendations, the client is under no obligation to effect the transaction through the investment adviser or the associated person when such person is employed as an agent with a licensed broker-dealer or is licensed as a broker-dealer or through any associate or affiliate of such person.
This statement may be included in the advisory contract or Schedule F of Form ADV, which for the latter, the client must acknowledge receipt of the disclosure.
Please refer to CCR Section 260.235.2 for more information.
17) When am I required to update my Form ADV?
Form ADV should always contain current and accurate information. Please note that Part 1A and Part 2 contain some similar questions and must be answered consistently. Therefore, both parts must be updated. In addition to your annual updating amendment, you must amend your Form ADV by filing additional amendments, referred to as “other-than-annual amendments,” during the year. If there are material changes to the Form ADV, an “other-than-annual amendment” should be filed within 30 days of the change.
Important: Advisers are recommended to utilize the tables found at the end of this packet to determine if a change to certain items in Form ADV requires prompt amendments. Because questions asked in Part 1 and 2 are similar, a table is also provided that references these questions. Advisers should make sure that the answers to cross-referenced items are answered the same.
Important: Any amendments to Parts 1 and 2 of Form ADV should be electronically filed through the IARD system.
REMEMBER: You must also amend your Form ADV each year by filing an “annual updating amendment” within 90 days after the end of your fiscal year. When you submit your annual updating amendment, you must update your responses to all items in Parts 1 and 2 of Form ADV.
18) Can Part 2 of Form ADV be filed electronically through the IARD system?
Yes, Form ADV Part 2 along with Schedule F must be filed through the IARD system. However, unlike Form ADV Part 1, Part 2 must be completed offline and uploaded to the IARD system. The form must be submitted in a text searchable pdf format in order to be accepted by the IARD system.
IARD system instructions for filing Part 2 of Form ADV can be found on the IARD web site at http://www.iard.com/part2instructions.asp .
An editable PDF version of Form ADV Part 2 with Schedule F can be obtained from the following website:
19) Do I need to file an annual updating amendment for Part 2 of Form ADV when there are no changes with the information provided?
Yes, an annual updating amendment of Form ADV Parts 1 and 2 through the IARD system is required regardless of any changes in the business or with the information provided. When filing an annual updating amendment, the IARD system allows advisers to utilize the “Confirm” brochure option to confirm that brochures on file are still current, without having to upload a new version of the PDF file.
Specific instructions for filing Part 2 of Form ADV can be obtained from the IARD website at: http://www.iard.com/pdf/ADV_Part_II_Firm_User_90.pdf .
20) Should I file a new application with the Department if I change my sole proprietorship to a corporation?
No, if there is no practical change in control or management only an amendment to the application is necessary. Successors may file an amendment only if the succession results from a change: 1) in form of organization; 2) in legal status; or 3) in the composition of a partnership.
Change in Form of Organization:
This in an internal reorganization or restructuring. For example, a corporation has two affiliated entities, A and B. A is registered as an IA and provides advisory services. B does bookkeeping and does not perform advisory functions. Now, the corporation decides that B should now be performing advisory services and A should provide bookkeeping. In this situation, B may file an amendment of its predecessor’s application because there is no change in control, since the corporation hasn’t change and the beneficial owners remain the same.
Change in Legal Status:
This is a result of a change in the state of incorporation or a change in the form of the business. For example, a sole proprietorship converts it business to a corporation. This also does not involve a change of control.
Change in Composition of a Partnership:
This involves the death, withdrawal, or addition of a partner in the partnership and is not considered a change in control of the partnership.
To file the Amendment: Successors should check “Yes” to Part 1A, Item 4A; enter the date of succession in Part 1A, Item 4B; and complete Schedule D, Section 4 about the acquired firm information. The successor will keep the same CRD number and the predecessor should NOT file Form ADV-W.
21) Should I file a new application if I am an unregistered person acquiring an existing registered investment adviser?
Yes, successors must file a new application for registration when the succession involves a change in control or management. The following types of successions require the filing of a new application:
Acquiring a preexisting investment adviser business by an unregistered person involving a change of control or management.
When two or more registered investment advisers combine their businesses and decide to conduct their new business through a new unregistered entity.
Division of Dual Registrants:
An entity registered as both an IA and BD that decides to separate one of its functions to an unregistered entity.
These types of successions must be filed by a new application for registration. Setting up an IARD account is the first step in the registration process. Once an adviser establishes an IARD account, the adviser can access Form ADV on IARD and submit it electronically through IARD to the Department. On Form ADV, the successor should check “Yes” to Part 1A, Item 4A; enter the date of the succession in Part 1A, Item 4B; and complete Schedule D, Section 4 about the acquired firm information. A new CRD number will be issued upon approval. Once approved, the predecessor files Form ADV-W to withdraw its license from the Department.
22) What are my minimum financial requirements?
Investment advisers who:
(1) Have custody of client funds or securities must maintain at all times a minimum net worth of $35,000.
(2) Have discretionary authority over client funds or securities but do not have custody of client funds or securities must maintain at all times a minimum net worth of $10,000.
(3) Accept prepayment of fees more than $500 per month and six or more months in advance must maintain at all times a positive net worth.
23) If I am an investment adviser and also a broker-dealer, do I need to meet the minimum net worth requirements for investment advisers?
No, the minimum financial requirements do not apply if the investment adviser is also licensed as a broker-dealer under Code Section 25210, or is registered with the SEC.
24) How is financial net worth determined?
“Net worth” should be calculated as the excess of assets over liabilities, as determined by generally accepted accounting principles. The following items should not be included in the calculation of assets: prepaid expenses (except as to items properly classified as current assets under generally accepted accounting principles), deferred charges, goodwill, franchise rights, organizational expenses, patents, copyrights, marketing rights, unamortized debt discount and expense, and all other assets of intangible nature; home, home furnishings, automobiles, and any other personal items not readily marketable in the case of an individual; advances or loans to stockholders and officers in the case of a corporation, and advances or loans to partners in the case of a partnership.
The Department has created a Minimum Financial Requirement Worksheet which advisers may utilize when computing their net worth, which can be obtained from the Department’s website at: http://www.corp.ca.gov/forms/pdf/2602372.pdf .
25) What happens if I do not meet the net worth requirement?
As a condition of the right to continue to transact business in this state, advisers must notify the Department of any net worth deficiency by the close of the next business day following the discovery that the net worth is less than the minimum required.
After transmitting such notice, advisers must file by the close of the next business day a report of financial condition, including the following:
(1)A trial balance of all ledger accounts;
(2) A statement of all client funds or securities which are not segregated;
(3) A computation of the aggregate amount of client ledger debit balance; and
(4) A statement as to the number of client accounts.
26) When computing my financial net worth on the Minimum Financial Requirement Worksheet provided by the Department, I notice that there is a “120% Test”. What is this 120% of minimum net worth requirement test?
An adviser who is subject to the minimum financial requirement must file interim financial reports with the Department within 15 days after its net worth is reduced to less than 120% of its net worth requirement. The first interim report shall be filed within 15 days after its net worth is reduced to less than 120% of its required minimum net worth, and should be as of a date within the 15-day period. Additional reports should be filed within 15 days after each subsequent monthly accounting period until three successive months’ reports have been filed that show a net worth of more than 120% of the firm’s required minimum net worth.
The submitted interim financial reports should contain:
(1) A Statement of Financial Condition (Balance Sheet);
(2) Minimum Financial Requirement Worksheet; and
(3) A verification form.
27) Do I need to file financial reports to the Department?
An adviser who is subject to the minimum financial requirements must file annual financial reports with the Department within 90 days after its fiscal year-end. The submitted annual financial reports should contain:
(1) A Statement of Financial Condition (Balance Sheet & Income Statement) that must be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles;
(2) Supporting schedule containing the computations of the minimum financial requirement. The Department has supplied a Minimum Financial Requirement Worksheet which advisers may utilize, and which may be obtained from the Department’s website:
http://www.corp.ca.gov/forms/pdf/2602372.pdf ; and
(3) A verification form must accompany the financial statements. The verification form must: (a) affirmatively state, to the best knowledge and belief of the person making the verification, that the financial statements and supporting schedules are true and correct; and (b) be signed under penalty of perjury. The verification form can be obtained from the Department’s website at:
Important: Advisers who have custody of client funds or securities must file audited financial statements prepared by an independent certified public accountant along with the supporting schedule of the net worth computation and the verification form. Please refer to Question # 30 for other requirements pertaining to investment advisers with custody of client funds or securities.
28) I obtain the client’s permission before executing trades, but the brokerage firm will accept my instructions when trading on client accounts. Would I be considered to have discretionary authority?
An investment adviser will not be deemed to have discretionary authority over client accounts when it places trade orders with a broker-dealer pursuant to a third party trading agreement if all the following are met:
(1) The investment adviser has executed a separate investment adviser contract exclusively with its client which acknowledges that the investment adviser must secure client permission prior to effecting securities transactions for the client in the client’s brokerage account(s), and
(2) The investment adviser in fact does not exercise discretion with respect to the account, maintains a log (date and time) or other documents each time client permission is obtained for transaction, and
(3) A third party trading agreement is executed between the client and a broker-dealer which specifically limits the investment adviser’s authority in the client’s broker-dealer account to the placement of trade orders and deduction of investment adviser fees.
29) How is custody of client funds or securities determined?
A person will be deemed to have custody if said person directly or indirectly holds client funds or securities, has any authority to obtain possession of them, or has the ability to appropriate them. Also see Questions 30 through 33, below, for additional information on making custody determinations.
30) What are the requirements for advisers who have custody of client funds and/or securities?
Advisers deemed to have custody of client funds and securities are subject to the following custodial requirements:
(1) $35,000 minimum net worth requirement of CCR Rule 260.237.2,
(2) Surprise verification requirement of CCR Rule 260.237(e), and
(3) Audited financial statements requirement of CCR Rule 260.241.2.
31) I deduct advisory fees directly from the clients’ custodial accounts. Do I have custody of client funds and securities? If yes, are there any procedures I may follow to be exempted from the financial requirements and surprise verification?
Yes and Yes. The Department takes the position that any arrangement under which the adviser is authorized or permitted to withdraw client funds or securities maintained with a custodian upon the adviser’s instruction to the custodian is deemed to have custody of client funds and securities.
Safeguarding Procedures: The Department allows advisers who have this type of payment arrangement to be exempted from the requirements of: (1) $35,000 minimum net worth; (2) audited financial statements; and (3) surprise verification if all of the following procedures are administered:
(1) The client must provide written authorization permitting direct payment from an account maintained by a custodian who is independent of the adviser;
(2) The adviser must send a statement to the client showing the amount of the fee, the value of the client’s assets upon which the fee was based, and the specific manner in which the fee was calculated;
(3) The Adviser must disclose to clients that it is the client’s responsibility to verify the accuracy of the fee calculation, and that the custodian will not determine whether the fee is properly calculated; and
(4) The custodian must agree to send the client a statement, at least quarterly, showing all disbursements from the account, including advisory fees.
Form ADV Disclosure: Advisers who follow the safeguarding procedures for direct fee deduction should respond accordingly on the following sections of their Form ADV:
- Form ADV: Part 1A, Item 9 (A) – Yes
- Part 1A, Item 9 (B) – Yes
- Part 1B, Item 2 I (1) – Yes
- Part 1B, Item 2 I (1) (a) – Yes
- Part 1B, Item 2 I (1) (b) Yes
- Part 1B, Item 2 I (1) (c) – Yes
- Part 2, Item 14 – No
Important: This exemption does not relieve the advisers from the net worth requirements, which may be lowered to $10,000, or the filing of unaudited financial statements.
32) I manage a limited partnership (LP) and am the general partner of the LP. Am I considered to have custody? If yes, are there any procedures I may follow to receive an exemption from the financial requirements and surprise verification?
Yes and Yes. The Department takes the position that an adviser with any capacity (such as a general partner of a limited partnership, managing member of a limited liability company or a comparable position for another type of pooled investment vehicle) that gives the adviser legal ownership of or access to client funds or securities is deemed to have custody of client funds and securities.
Safeguarding Procedures: An investment adviser acting as a general partner of a limited partnership (or a comparable position for another type of pooled investment vehicle) may receive partnership funds or securities directly from the partnership’s account held by an independent custodian without complying with the surprise audit requirement of CCR Rule 260.237(e), audited financial statements requirement of CCR Rule 260.241.2, and higher net worth requirement of CCR Rule 260.237.2 if all the partnership assets are administered as follows:
(1) One or more independent banks or brokerage firms must hold the partnership’s funds and securities in the name of the partnership.
(2) Funds received by the partnership for subscriptions must be deposited by the subscriber directly with the custodian.
(3) The partnership must engage an independent party to approve all fees, expenses, and capital withdrawals from the pooled accounts.
(4) Each time the general partner makes a payment or withdrawal request, it must simultaneously send to the independent party and the custodian a statement showing: (a) the amount of the payment or withdrawal; (b) the value of the partnership’s assets on which the fee or withdrawal is based; (c) the manner in which the payment or withdrawal is calculated; and (d) the amount in the general partner’s capital account before and after the withdrawal.
(5) The general partner must also give the independent party sufficient information to allow the representative to determine that the payments comply with the partnership agreement. The custodian may transfer funds from the partnership account to the general partner only with the written authorization of the independent party, and only if the custodian receives a copy of the written request from the general partner.
(6) The custodian must provide quarterly statements to the partnership and the independent party.
Form ADV Disclosure: Advisers who follow the safeguarding procedures for pooled investment vehicles should respond accordingly on the following sections of their Form ADV:
- Part 1A, Item 9 (A)
- Part 1A, Item 9 (B)
- Part 1B, Item 2 I (2)
- Part 1B, Item 2 I (2) (a)
- Part 2, Item 14
Important: This exemption does not relieve advisers from the net worth requirement, which may be lowered to $10,000, or from the requirement to file unaudited financial statements.
33) I inadvertently received securities or checks from my advisory clients. Do I have custody?
Yes. To avoid having custody, you must return the securities to the sender promptly within two business days of receiving them. In the case of checks received inadvertently, the adviser must forward the checks to the third party within two business days of receipt.
Important: You are also required to keep accurate records of the securities and funds you received and returned. Such records should contain the description of the checks/securities, when and from whom they were received, where they were sent, and a record of how they were returned.
34) Who can be an independent party?
For purposes of the safeguarding procedures for pooled investment vehicles, an independent party must:
(1) Be a certified public accountant (CPA) or an attorney in good standing with the California State Bar;
(2)Act as a gatekeeper for the payment of fees, expenses, and capital withdrawals from the pooled investment;
(3) Not control, and is not controlled by or under common control with the adviser; and
(4) Not have, and have had within the past two years, a material business relationship with the investment adviser.
35) An accounting firm acts as the independent CPA that audits annually my pooled investment vehicle. May the accounting firm also act as the independent representative for the investors in the pooled investment vehicle?
No, this accounting firm is not acceptable as an independent representative. The independent representative may not have, or have had within the past two years, a material business relationship with the adviser. Also, the purpose for this safeguard is for the independent representative to act as the agent for an advisory client and is thus obliged to act in the best interest of the advisory client, limited partner, member or other beneficial owner. When the CPA sent audited financial statements of the pooled investment vehicle, it would be, in essence, sending itself its own audit results. This is not in the best interest of the investors in the pooled investment vehicle and is not allowed.
Important: Alternatively, if the accounting firm audits the investment adviser’s financial statements or prepares tax filings for the pooled investment vehicle and its investors, the result would be the same. That is, the accounting firm would not satisfy the independence criteria since it has a material business relationship with the adviser
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- California Investment Advisors Renewal Notice
- How to Register as an Investment Advisor
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. Mallon P.C. will also help California based Investment Advisors to register with the California Securities Regulation Division. If you are a hedge fund manager who is looking to start a hedge fund or an investmen advisor looking to register, please call Mr. Mallon directly at 415-296-8510.