Bitcoin and U.S. Regulation

Simon Riveles Bitcoin, FINCEN, Uncategorized

By Simon Riveles and Simon Cooke Bitcoin faces an uncertain regulatory future in the U.S. This uncertainty has led to the U.K.’s newest and most developed bitcoin exchange, Coinfloor, not accepting U.S. customers, at least initially. Bitcoin is a ‘peer to peer’ virtual currency created by a computer generated math based protocol. Bitcoin is an extremely risky and volatile investment with bitcoin’s value fluctuating by …

Simon Riveles a Panelist at the Hedge Fund Association’s Student Symposium at Seton Hall on November 20th

Simon Riveles Uncategorized

On November 20, 2013, the Hedge Fund Association (“HFA”), an international non-for-profit organization made up of hedge funds, funds of hedge funds, family offices, high net worth individuals, and service providers, is sponsoring the HFA Inaugural Student Symposium at Seton Hall entitled, How to Find Your Fortune Without Losing Your Soul. The Symposium was a unique opportunity for Seton Hall students interested in learning more …

New Derivative Position Limit Rule

Simon Riveles CFTC, Futures, Position Limit

Under the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (commonly referred to as “Dodd-Frank”), Congress required the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) to impose limits in speculative positions in physical commodity futures and options contracts and economically equivalent swaps. On November 5, 2013, the CFTC in a 3-1 vote approved a new rule (the “Rule”) that establishes position limits in 28 physical commodity futures …

Proposed Crowdfunding Rules Available for Public Comment

Simon Riveles Accredited Investor, Advertising, Crowdfunding, SEC, Uncategorized

On October 23, 2013, the SEC released a set of proposed rules under the JOBS Act (the “Act”), which would permit emerging growth companies (EGC’s) to offer and sell securities through crowdfunding platforms.  In their current form, the proposed rules closely resemble the original parameters outlined in Section III of the Act, the section from which the crowdfunding provision was born.  The rules will be …

SEC Monitoring the Use and Market Impact of General Solicitation

Simon Riveles General Solicitation, SEC, Uncategorized

At the Managed Funds Association Outlook 2013 Conference, held on October 18, 2013, SEC Chair Mary Jo White delivered a speech emphasizing the importance of transparency in the hedge fund industry.  Chair White highlighted that the JOBS Act, which allows private funds to participate in the general solicitation, increases the responsibility of private funds to be open and honest with potential clients and regulators.  Chair …

ERISA and Hedge Funds

Simon Riveles ERISA, Hedge Funds, IRS, Uncategorized

What is ERISA? ERISA is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which governs, among other things, the investment of certain benefit plans into hedge funds. The significance of ERISA for hedge funds is that if more than 25% of a hedge fund’s equity interests are those of certain “benefit plan investors,” all of the hedge fund’s assets will be considered “plan assets” under …

CFTC and Swaps: What You Should Know

Simon Riveles CFTC, Hedge Funds, Swaps

Under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”), a person who qualifies as a “swap dealer” or “major swap participant” is required to register with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and comply with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s regulatory regime governing swaps, which generally requires, among other things: Mandatory clearing of certain designated derivatives through a “derivatives clearing organization” (“DCO”) Mandatory execution …

The “Bad Actor” Amendments: Private Issuer Compliance with Rule 506

Simon Riveles Bad Actor, General Solicitation, Hedge Funds, Jobs Act, Private Fund Exemption, Private Placement, Reg D Rule 506

By Simon Riveles and Peter Tyson On July 10, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments to Rule 506 of the Securities Act of 1933 to disqualify securities offerings relying on the Rule 506 exemption that involve certain “felons and other ‘bad actors’”.  The final amendments (the Final Rules) went into effect on September 23, 2013 (the Effective Date) and apply to all …

CPO Exemptions and General Solicitation

Simon Riveles Uncategorized

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently adopted the final rules amending Rule 506 of the Securities Act of 1933, which will eliminate the prohibition on general solicitation for private funds provided fund managers only offer interests to “accredited” investors and take reasonable steps to verify each investor’s accredited status. The final rules will go into effect September 23, 2013. While many private fund managers …

IRS Launches Online System For FATCA Registration

Simon Riveles BVI, FACTA, IRS, Offshore Funds

By Peter Tyson and Simon Riveles On August 19, 2013 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched a new online registration system for financial institutions needing to register with the IRS under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). FATCA, which was enacted as part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act of 2010 to counter tax evasion, requires foreign financial institutions, which include …

General Solicitation May Trigger State Investment Adviser Registration in Certain States

Simon Riveles Advertising, Compliance, General Solicitation, Investment Adviser Registration, Private Fund Exemption

Background As a consequence of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”), beginning September 23, 2013, managers of private funds will be permitted to advertise and solicit the general public in an effort to raise capital for their private fund. While the requirements for investment adviser registration vary from state to state, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee provide an exemption to …

Private Placements under FINRA Scrutiny

Simon Riveles Broker Dealer Exemption, Broker Dealer Registration, Compliance, FINRA, FINRA Rule 5123, Private Placement, Uncategorized

Peter Tyson and Simon Riveles The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) announced in its Annual Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter from January 11, 2013 that it would prioritize policing private placements in 2013. Of particular concern to FINRA is enhancing its risk-based supervision of the private placement market, and addressing inadequate disclosures and due diligence procedures, which can mislead and/or harm investors. FINRA’s announcement is …

SEC Proposes Amendments to Rule 156 following repeal of the ban on General Solicitation under Rule 506

Simon Riveles Advertising, False and Misleading Communication, General Solicitation, Hedge Funds, Reg D Rule 506, Rule 156

By Peter Tyson and Simon Riveles Following the SEC’s adoption of amended Rule 506, the SEC has proposed amendments to Rule 156 of the Securities Act of 1933 to extend the rule’s interpretive guidance on sales literature to private funds.  The proposed amendments to Rule 156 reflect the SEC’s concerns regarding fraudulent and misleading sales literature, the incidence of which could increase given the adoption …

SEC Repeals the Ban on General Solicitation under Rule 506

Simon Riveles Accredited Investor, Advertising, General Solicitation, Reg D Rule 506, SEC

On July 10, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) adopted amendments to Rule 506 of Regulation D (“Rule 506(c)”) implementing changes mandating by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”). Rule 506(c) permits an issuer to engage in general solicitation or general advertising[1] in offering and selling of securities under Rule 506 provided such issuer reasonably believes and takes “reasonable steps” to …

SEC Shows Commitment to Whistleblower Program Following Second-Ever Whistleblower Award

Simon Riveles SEC, Uncategorized, Whisteblower

By Peter Tyson and Simon Riveles On June 12 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued its second-ever whistleblowing award to three anonymous tipsters who helped the SEC enforce an action for fraud against Locust Offshore Management, LLC and its CEO, Andrey Hicks. Two of the tipsters provided information to the SEC regarding the fraudulent offer and sale of shares in the Locust Offshore …

The Impact of the AIFM Directive on Marketing Non-EU Funds by Non-EU Fund Managers

Simon Riveles AIFMD, European Union

OVERVIEW By Peter Tyson and Simon Riveles On 22 July 2013, the EU directive on alternative investment fund managers (AIFMD) will take effect in each European Union (EU) Member State. The AIFMD establishes an authorization regime as well as a rulebook for managing and marketing alternative investment funds (AIFs) by alternative investment fund managers (AIFMs) within the EU. In addition to retaining the private placement …

Recent FINRA Anti-Money Laundering Actions against Member Firms

Simon Riveles Anti-Money Laundering, FINRA

Recent penalties imposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against three companies that failed to implement adequate procedures to detect money laundering demonstrate the agency’s continued attention on anti-money laundering (AML) compliance programs. FINRA levied a total of $900,000 in sanctions and suspensions against Atlas One Financial Group (“Atlas”), Firstrade Securities (“Firstrade”), and World Trade Financial Corporation (WFTC) in addition to four executives associated …

SEC and CFTC Establish Identity Theft Detection and Prevention Guidelines

Simon Riveles CFTC, Cyber-security, Identity Theft, SEC

By Ryan Finn and Simon Riveles In an effort to reduce the ever-increasing threat of identity theft, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) (together, the “Commissions”) recently adopted the Identity Theft Red Flag Rule ( or Regulation “S-ID”). Broadly speaking, S-ID requires entities regulated by the Commissions that maintain “transaction accounts” to develop and implement a written identity …

SEC Provides Guidelines for Use of Social Media in Compliance with Regulation Fair Disclosure

Simon Riveles Dodd-Frank, Regulation Fair Disclosure, SEC, Social Media

By Ryan Finn and Simon Riveles In the age of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, companies and their executives are increasingly using social media to interact with customers, investors and the public. This rapid change in the way public companies disseminate information has presented challenges for the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or the “Commission”) in its application of Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure), which requires …

SEC Grants “Accredited Crowdfunding” Platforms Relief from Broker Dealer Registration

Simon Riveles Broker Dealer Registration, Crowdfunding, Jobs Act, SEC

By Ryan Finn and Simon Riveles In two recent no action letters the SEC granted exemptive relief from broker dealer registration to crowdfunding sites on the basis that the platforms received carried interest rather than transaction base compensation. Although the SEC made it clear that the no-action letters were to be narrowly construed to the specific facts of each case, some commentators extrapolated that the …