SEC Plans Extensive Exams Of Private Equity Firms

May 9 2012 | 9:57am ET

Hedge funds aren't the only ones facing their first brush with a Securities and Exchange Commission inspection team, one of its top enforcers said.

Carlo di Florio, who heads the regulator's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, said that 37 of the world's 50 largest private equity managers are now registered with the SEC. And many of them will face "coordinated examinations."

Those regulatory looks will focus "on the highest-risk areas of their business," di Florio told a private equity conference in Manhattan last week. The SEC plans to tackle the new registrants—including 18 of the 50 biggest p.e. funds in the world—with a three-step examination, beginning with the SEC's explanation of its expectations. The OCIE will also seek to meet with top executives at firms, in an effort to evaluate their cultures of compliance.

In addition to risk, the SEC plans to look closely at conflicts of interest to ensure p.e. funds are meeting their fiduciary duties to investors.

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