Articles Tagged with Rule 205-3

Pursuant to an order entered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on June 14, 2016, the exemption contained under Rule 205-3 of the Investment Advisers Act (“Advisers Act”), which allows registered investment advisers to charge performance-based compensation to clients notwithstanding the general prohibition against same contained in Section 205(a)(1) of the Advisers Act, will be slightly modified.  This modification is the result of a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act (“Dodd Frank”) implementing a provision of that act under Rule 205-3, which requires the SEC to adjust the dollar amounts contained in the exemption for inflation and to round the adjustment to the nearest $100,000.00.  This adjustment must occur every five years.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released Final Rule No. IA – 3372 which changes the qualifications for advisers who charge performance fees. We discussed the proposed amendment to the rule in a previous blog post, Performance Based Fee Threshold Increase Sought by SEC in Proposed Order. These amendments are required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and will take effect 90 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is anticipated shortly. Until then advisers can rely on the grandfather provisions.

While advisers are generally unable to accept performance fees, there are exceptions. For example under certain circumstances, a client may become a “qualified client,” under Rule 205-3, meaning he or she is deemed to be capable of bearing the risks associated with performance fee arrangements. Under the new rule, an adviser may charge performance fees to “qualified clients” who have at least $1 million of assets under management for that definition to apply. Under the previous rule, $750,000 in assets were required to be under management. Also, the net worth of an investor may also be a qualification for an exception. The amended rule raises the minimum net worth standard for qualified clients from $1 million to $2 million. (The other “qualified client” basis includes clients who immediately before entering the advisory contract are either executive officers, directors, trustees, general partners of the adviser or employees of the adviser and who have participated in the adviser’s investment activities for at least twelve months. This definition has not changed with the amendment.)
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Yesterday the Securities and Exchange Commission published a notice of intent to issue an order that would increase the performance fee threshold, i.e., the definition of “qualified client” under Adviser’s Act Rule 205-3, to $2.0 Million from $1.5 Million (under the client net worth test), and to $1.5 Million from $750,000 (under the client asset under management test). The SEC also notified that it intended to adopt a rule requiring inflation adjustment reevaluation of these thresholds every five years.

The order proposal is a result of a study required by Section 418 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The proposed inflation-adjustment amendment would require the use of the Personal Consumption Expenditures Chain-Type Price Index (“PCE Index”), published by the Department of Commerce. The PCE Index is often used as an indicator of inflation in the personal sector of the U.S. economy.

The proposed amendment to Rule 205-3 would also specify that the value of a prospective client’s personal residence and any debt associated therewith should be excluded in determining net worth for purposes of determining whether he or she is a “qualified client” to whom performance fees may be charged.
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