Following the recent conclusion of the SEC’s two-year “presence exam” initiative to examine newly regulated private equity managers, the co-head of the SEC’s Office of Compliance and Inspections private funds unit, Igor Rozenblit, discussed last week enforcement actions related the completed exams, and also gave a preview of an upcoming related exam initiative. DealBook and Reuters both reported on Mr. Rozenblit’s remarks.
Speaking at Private Equity International’s CFO/COO 2015 Forum in Manhattan last week, Mr. Rozenblit said that, although its “presence exam” initiative has been complete for approximately three months, any enforcement cases stemming from the exams would generally take months or years of investigation and negotiation to develop and surface.
“Enforcement investigations typically take a long time,” Mr. Rozenblit said. “A rocket investigation would be a year, a year and a half. An average investigation would be two years-plus, and in some cases longer than that.”
Mr. Rozenblit also cautioned that it remains too early to analyze the overall impact of the presence exams. Although past speeches by SEC officials have noted that the Commission’s exams had uncovered “violations of law or material weaknesses in controls” in more than half of the funds examined – many such issues involving expense allocation and fee disclosure – the Commission is not yet prepared to communicate overall findings or guidance to the market.
However, Mr. Rozenblit also noted that his private funds unit will soon begin another round of examinations, this time moving “beyond buyout” managers to look at “adjacent illiquid asset classes” and “liquid asset classes.” While he did not mention specifically targeted classes, DealBook speculates that exams could focus on hedge funds and managers focused on real estate, timber and energy assets.