Marketing Limitations on Private Funds

As a private fund manager registering as an investment adviser, you get new limitations on how you market and sell interests in your funds.

It all starts with Section 206 of the Investment Advisers Act:

It shall be unlawful for any investment adviser, by use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce, directly or indirectly–

1. to employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud any client or prospective client;
2. to engage in any transaction, practice, or course of business which operates as a fraud or deceit upon any client or prospective client;

4. to engage in any act, practice, or course of business which is fraudulent, deceptive, or manipulative. The Commission shall, for the purposes of this paragraph (4) by rules and regulations define, and prescribe means reasonably designed to prevent, such acts, practices, and courses of business as are fraudulent, deceptive, or manipulative.

In case you didn’t notice, that provision is applicable to all investment advisers, not just registered investment advisers. Since this law was enacted in 1940, it has always been illegal for a private fund manager to engage in fraud, deception or manipulation.

Once you register with the SEC as an investment adviser, the new marketing rules that come into place are in Rule 206(4)-1. That rule lays out five things than an investment adviser can not do with an advertisement:

1.  Refer, directly or indirectly, to any testimonial of any kind concerning the investment adviser or concerning any advice, analysis, report or other service rendered by such investment
adviser; or

2.  Refer, directly or indirectly, to past specific recommendations of such investment adviser which were or would have been profitable to any person: Provided, however, That this shall not prohibit an advertisement which sets out or offers to furnish a list of all recommendations made by such investment adviser within the immediately preceding period of not less than one year if such advertisement, and such list if it is furnished separately: (i) State the name of each such security recommended, the date and nature of each such recommendation (e.g., whether to buy, sell or hold), the market price at that time, the price at which the recommendation was to be acted upon, and the market price of each such security as of the most recent practicable date, and (ii) contain the following cautionary legend on the first page thereof in print or type as large as the largest print or type used in the body or text thereof: “it should not be assumed that recommendations made in the future will be profitable or will equal the performance of the securities in this list”; or

3.  Represent, directly or indirectly, that any graph, chart, formula or other device being offered can in and of itself be used to determine which securities to buy or sell, or when to buy or sell them; or which represents directly or indirectly, that any graph, chart, formula or other device being offered will assist any person in making his own decisions as to which securities to buy, sell, or when to buy or sell them, without prominently disclosing in such advertisement the limitations thereof and the difficulties with respect to its use; or

4.  Contain any statement to the effect that any report, analysis, or other service will be furnished free or without charge, unless such report, analysis or other service actually is or will be furnished entirely free and without any condition or obligation, directly or indirectly; or

5. Contain any untrue statement of a material fact, or which is otherwise false or misleading.

More about some of these later.
Image is Apples and Oranges by Jeremy / http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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