Private-equity firms, after decades of operating with limited regulatory scrutiny, are facing possible sanctions and tighter oversight after the Securities and Exchange Commission uncovered improprieties at most firms.
Bloomberg News reports that the SEC found illegal fees or severe compliance shortfalls in more than half of the firms it examined since starting a review of the $3.5tril industry two years ago, Drew Bowden, head of the SEC’s exam program, said in a speech yesterday. Bowden’s remarks foreshadow significant changes in how the industry operates, said Jay Gould, head of the investment-funds team at law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in San Francisco.
'There will be several significant enforcement actions, enough to where the message will be pounded home loud and clear as to what is acceptable and what is not', Gould said.
Private-equity firms have enjoyed limited oversight since gaining prominence in the 1970s as partnerships of investment managers who raised money to take over companies. That changed in 2010 when the Dodd-Frank Act gave the SEC greater oversight of private funds, which are typically only open to institutions and wealthy investors.
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