SEC finally issues private fund rules

Advisers may breathe sighs of relief as the final rules are less restrictive than many expected

Sometimes even the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can shock people. The commission yesterday unanimously voted to adopt new rules requiring certain hedge fund and private fund advisers to report confidential data to the government.

The new reporting requirements come as a result of Sections 404 and 406 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires SEC-registered investment advisers with at least $150 million in private fund assets under management to periodically file a new, confidential reporting form—Form PF.

Data reported in the form will allow the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to monitor a large portion of private fund assets while simultaneously reducing the reporting requirements for private fund advisers.

“The data collection form that we have adopted will address the dramatic lack of private fund information available to regulators today while easing the burden on private fund managers producing the data,” SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said in a statement.

Many advisers are viewing the rules in a positive light. The reporting requirements were scaled back after the industry, lawmakers and even some former SEC commissioners carped about the regulations as they were initially proposed in January were too onerous, Reuters reports. As it stands, the final rule will apply to far fewer private fund advisers than initially expected, gives advisers more time to file their forms and, in certain instances, even requires specific advisers to file less frequently.

Compliance with the new rules will begin with a two-stage phase-in period. Most private fund advisers will be required to begin filing Form PF following the end of their first fiscal year or fiscal quarter on or after Dec. 15, 2012. Those with $5 billion or more in private fund assets must begin filing Form PF following the end of their first fiscal year or fiscal quarter on or after June 15, 2012.

For more reaction to the rules, read Reuters’ coverage. For more specifics on Form PF, read the SEC’s fact sheet

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