Articles Tagged with Valuation

Earlier this week, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a risk alert in which it discussed ongoing deficiencies identified during compliance examinations of investment advisers that advise private funds. This risk alert follows on the heels of other SEC activity relating to private fund advisers, including enforcement referrals, deficiency letters, and informal guidance.

The deficiencies discussed in the risk alert fall into three broad categories: disclosures relating to fees; disclosures relating to conflicts of interests; and sufficiency of a firm’s policies relating to nonpublic material information and its internal enforcement of such policies. The purpose of this risk alert was to provide guidance to private fund advisers regarding steps they should take to improve their compliance policies and program, while simultaneously advising investors in private funds of the types of issues to be aware of when dealing with private fund advisers. Many investors in private funds are pensions or other qualified retirement plans, charities and endowments, and families who have family offices.

This blog post focuses on the portion of the risk alert relating to fees and expenses. Continue reading ›

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has decided to increase regulation of the private equity industry, which has previously faced less regulatory scrutiny than other industries such as banking and hedge funds. At the end of 2012, the SEC sent several letters to private equity funds as “informal inquiries.” It is unclear which firms actually received the letters. The SEC maintains that its actions are not a result of suspecting any particular wrongdoing by specific firms, and it claims that its goal is to investigate possible violations of securities laws.

In the letter, the SEC requested information from private equity firms in relation to 12 broad areas including:

  • Financial statements;
  • Support for valuations of fund assets;
  • Documents setting forth a value of any assets owned by a fund over the past three years; and
  • Information on agreements between the firms and those that value fund assets.

The SEC is placing greater emphasis on the valuation of private equity firms since the firms are not publically traded and there is no listing price on the stock market. As a result, there is no easily ascertainable price for private companies. This allows for subjective judgments to play a large role in valuation. Private equity managers use varying, complex methodologies to value their holdings, which are often private companies bought using debt.
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