New York Public Pension Fund Reform Code of Conduct

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In a widely publicized story, The Carlyle Group has agreed to adopt New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s Public Pension Fund Reform Code of Conduct. It is the first money manager to adopt Cuomo’s new “code of reform” for the municipal-pension market. (Carlyle executives will not be subject to any criminal liability under the settlement with the NYAG.)

It is not clear how the ban on placement agents will interact with the SEC limitations on general solicitation under Rule 502. Many private investment funds use a broker/dealer as an intermediary with potential investors (including public pension funds) to comply with the SEC rule. It seems like the ban on placement agents could hurt the ability of smaller funds and newer funds to obtain investments from public pension funds. If a private investment fund seeking investors has no existing relationship with the public pension fund, then contacting the public pension fund directly could be considered part of a general solicitation in violation of SEC rules. The placement agent, if a licensed broker/dealer, can help establish the relationship to avoid a general solicitation.

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