SEC Examination Lessons Learned During the Biden/Gensler Era and Looking Ahead

As many expected, exams under SEC Chair Gary Gensler have become more targeted at private funds. With specialized teams (e.g., artificial intelligence, crypto) aligned with areas of programmatic importance to the Commission and the return in earnest of in-person examiners, scrutiny by the SEC’s Division of Examinations of certain topics tested in exams can be particularly intensive. The stakes are high, as there have been significant enforcement actions against fund managers, including some stemming from examination findings being referred to the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. This guest article by Simpson Thacher partners Meaghan A. Kelly, Michael J. Osnato, Jr., and David W. Blass explores recent substantive SEC exam priorities and emerging trends for private funds, with new areas of regulatory focus emerging with clarity alongside perennial areas of interest. The article also offers practical considerations for fund managers to consider when preparing for and navigating exams, including the potential role that remediation can play in the process. For additional insights from Osnato, see “PE Industry in 2024: Navigating an Uncertain Examination and Regulatory Environment (Part One of Two)” (Jan. 11, 2024); and “SEC Charges PE Sponsor With Improper Accelerated Monitoring Fees and Continuation Fund Transfer” (Dec. 14, 2023).

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