The SEC has instituted an order instituting administrative proceedings and cease-and-desist proceedings against Brian Williamson, a former Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. manager, for misleading investors by providing them with false information regarding the financial performance and valuation of a fund of funds managed by Williamson—Oppenheimer Global Resource Private Equity Fund I, L.P. (“OGR”). Among his other roles at OGR, Williamson had primary responsibility for the content of OGR’s pitch books and quarterly reports. In its proceedings, the SEC primarily claims that Williamson, at various times during 2009 - 2010:
- made, approved and revised fund marketing materials to mislead investors about the internal rate of return on investments by neglecting to take into account various fees and expenses paid to managers and OGR’s sponsor entity; and
- revalued the OGR’s largest single holding at his own increased valuation and made or approved statements implying that the valuation (and increased rates as a result of the valuation) were based off of the portfolio manager’s estimated valuations rather than Williamson’s own revised valuation.
The SEC order cites numerous instances where Williamson knew or recklessly disregarded that information regarding the performance and valuation of OGR’s investments was false and misleading. The SEC claims that as a result of Williamson’s conduct, he willfully violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act (and Rule 10b-5 thereunder) and Section 206(4) of the Advisers Act (and Rule 206(4)-8 thereunder). Earlier this year Oppenheimer agreed to pay approximately $2.8 million to resolve its role in the case, but Williamson is now fighting the charges.