Articles Tagged with Family Office

In a rule adopted yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a rule defining “family offices.” “Family offices” are entities established by wealthy families to manage their wealth and provide other services to family members, such as tax and estate planning services. Family offices were exempt from registration as investment advisers with “fewer than fifteen clients” prior to passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, but when that act goes into effect on July 21, 2011, they will no longer be able to claim that broad exemption because it will be repealed.

In its place, as authorized by Congress, the SEC has exempted a new category of advisers that constitute “family offices.” A family office (1) provides investment advice only to “family clients,” as defined by the rule; (2) Is wholly owned by family clients and is exclusively controlled by family members and/or family entities, as defined by the rule; and (3) Does not hold itself out to the public as an investment adviser.
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Most private fund managers and registered investment advisers who advise funds based in the United States will be affected by the revisions to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 contained in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in July 2010. The major impact will be felt by funds, fund managers and advisers in the form of new registration requirements and different, more highly defined, exemptions from registration. Dodd-Frank also mandates increased compliance obligations for those required to register, enhanced record-keeping requirements for both registered and exempt managers and funds, and, in some cases, a requirement to file reports detailing information necessary to assess systemic risks.

The most direct impact of Dodd-Frank is the elimination of the exemption for registration for an investment adviser with “fewer than fifteen” clients. This broad stroke eliminates the basis upon which hedge fund managers have traditionally been exempt from investment adviser registration. In place of the “fewer than fifteen” client exemption, Dodd-Frank carves out exemptions for investment advisers based upon either assets under management or the type of fund advised.
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