The SEC has provided a no action letter in response to an American Bar Association request on guidance for private fund managers. The ABA requested clarification that a group of funds could use a singe registration where the fund managers are in a control relationship and conduct a single advisory business subject to a unified compliance program. The theory is that permitting a single registration (and a single Form ADV filing) to cover the entire group of related advisers would more accurately reflect the full nature and scope of the single advisory business conducted by the group. Therefore it would be more informative for advisory clients and private fund investors as well as the SEC.
The SEC agreed, subject to the following limits:
- The filing adviser and each relying adviser advise only private funds and separate account clients that are qualified clients (as defined in Advisers Act rule 205-3) and are otherwise eligible to invest in the private funds advised by the filing adviser or a relying adviser and whose accounts pursue investment objectives and strategies that are substantially similar or otherwise related to those private funds.
- Each relying adviser, its employees and the persons acting on its behalf are subject to the filing adviser’s supervision and control and, therefore, each relying adviser, its employees and the persons acting on its behalf are “persons associated with” the filing adviser (as defined in section 202(a)(17) of the Advisers Act).
- The filing adviser has its principal office and place of business in the United States and, therefore, all of the substantive provisions of the Advisers Act and the rules thereunder apply to the filing adviser’s and each relying adviser’s dealings with each of its clients, regardless of whether any client or the filing adviser or relying adviser providing the advice is a United States person.9
- The advisory activities of each relying adviser are subject to the Advisers Act and the rules thereunder,and each relying adviser is subject to examination by the Commission.10
- The filing adviser and each relying adviser operate under a single code of ethics adopted in accordance with Advisers Act rule 204A-1 and a single set of written policies and procedures adopted and implemented in accordance with Advisers Act rule 206(4)-(7) and administered by a single chief compliance officer in accordance with that rule.11
- The filing adviser discloses in its Form ADV (Miscellaneous Section of Schedule D) that it and its relying advisers are together filing a single Form ADV in reliance on the position expressed in this letter and identifies each relying adviser by completing a separate Section 1.B., Schedule D, of Form ADV for each relying adviser and identifying it as such by including the notation “(relying adviser).”
If I’m reading this right, it looks like you may be able to wrap the registration requirement for the general partners of funds into a single Form ADV Registration. Prior to this no action letter, I assumed you needed to have each general partner enter into an investment management agreement with the management company.
Given this, it looks like you may be able to take that item off your list of things to do in the next few weeks and merely list the general partners on the Form ADV (assuming you meet the other requirements).