RIA’s Affiliate Private Fund Manager Wrongly Claimed Registration Exemption
The SEC censured and fined a fund manager and its principal and barred the principal from serving as a chief compliance officer for incorrectly claiming exemption from Advisers Act registration and its requirements. The SEC contends that the principal, which managed a registered investment adviser, created an affiliate to manage two private funds and then claimed an exemption from registration because the funds had less than $150 Million. The SEC maintains that the affiliate was required to register because it was under common control with the registered adviser and shared office space, employees and technology. The SEC alleges that the private fund adviser hoped to avoid the custody rule’s audit requirements and compliance requirements. The SEC cites Section 208(d) of the Advisers Act, which prohibits a person from doing indirectly any act which would be unlawful if done directly.
OUR TAKE: This case has significant implications for larger organizations. If a firm operates a registered investment adviser affiliate, the SEC, based on this action’s reasoning, would prohibit the firm from claiming an exemption registration for an unregistered fund manager under the same roof. The SEC is using the regulatory flexibility to integrate advisers under one Form ADV as a regulatory weapon to force registration on otherwise exempt affiliates.