At the annual Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst conference held at the Waldorf-Astoria Tuesday in New York there were two unusual attendees — SEC officials.One of them was from the agency’s enforcement division, which “investigates possible violations of securities laws, recommends Commission action when appropriate, either in a federal court or before an administrative law judge, and negotiates settlements,” according to the agency’s website.
“Why would SEC officials attend a private equity conference?”
That was the question amongst some conference attendees. In fact, there was quite a bit of chatter about their presence.
While sitting at a table with the one from the enforcement division during a panel discussion, at least three people approached him, pointed at his name tag, and asked him why he was there.
He said, “I’m here to better understand the industry since the SEC regulates all investment classes,” when we asked him.
“It helps us more intelligently do our job at the SEC,” he added.
OK. Fair enough.
While he will go nameless, the official does, however, have extensive experience working in the private equity industry — at least six years in senior associate and vice president positions at three different venture capital and private equity firms.
The presence of SEC officials at the conference at this time might concern new regulations in the industry.
Currently, regulation in the private equity industry is limited. There are a variety of securities laws that apply to private equity in various ways.
Whatever the reason for their attendance, having SEC officials present is a good thing.
In the wake of the $50 billion Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, the SEC was widely criticised for failing to identify what was going on.
This might be evidence that the agency’s officials are now taking a more active approach to regulating by getting in the trenches to better understand the industry they regulate.
The SEC was not available for comment at the time of publication.
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