Problems the SEC Looks for in Private Fund Exams, Recent Trends in Examination Techniques and Tips for Addressing Deficiencies

Although recent SEC enforcement actions have not centered on the private funds industry, the Commission is no less focused on scrutinizing manager practices. In light of that, it is invaluable to receive insights directly from staff personnel about areas the regulator is focusing on, including fees and expenses; liquidity preferences; environmental, social and governance issues; and conflicts of interests. As the SEC drills down on those areas, fund managers should be aware of interesting wrinkles in how it is conducting its examinations, such as the types of individuals it seeks to question and the scope of documents being requested. Those recent trends were addressed in a recent session hosted by the Practising Law Institute, moderated by Gibson Dunn partner Barry R. Goldsmith and featuring Marc E. Elovitz, partner at Schulte Roth; Ranah L. Esmaili, partner at Sidley Austin; Ken C. Joseph, managing director at Kroll, LLC; and Maurya C. Keating, Associate Regional Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. This article summarizes relevant takeaways for PE sponsors from the discussion. For additional commentary from Keating and Joseph, see our two-part coverage of a previous PLI panel: “2020 OCIE Priorities and Tips for Fund Managers to Navigate an Examination” (Apr. 7, 2020); and “Potential Impact of the Proposed Advertising Rules and Other Recent SEC Regulatory Reforms” (Apr. 14, 2020).

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