SEC Intensifies Hedge Fund Misconduct Probes

Sep 27 2007 | 7:38am ET

More than 30 hedge funds in the Northeastern U.S. suspected of a variety of malfeasance, including insider trading, are currently under investigation, a representative of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said at a recent conference in Connecticut.

The regulator is also probing possible insider trading, faulty asset valuation and conflicts of interests, among other potential instances of misconduct, outside of the Northeast.

“Whether you are registered or not, we at the enforcement division believe that we have the tools to detect insider trading,” the SEC’s Bruce Karpati said, referring to the agency’s hedge fund registration requirement, struck down by a federal court last year. “There are obviously active investigations on this front.”

Not just active, but successful, according to hedge fund foe and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Speaking at the same Connecticut hedge fund conference as Karpati, an assistant regional director of enforcement at the SEC’s New York office, yesterday, Blumenthal added, “There are indications that the investigations will be very productive.”

The Northeast is home to two of the country’s three largest hedge fund centers, New York and southwest Connecticut, and Boston also houses a lot of hedge funds.

In spite of the intensified SEC activity targeting hedge funds—the agency has brought 100 cases against hedge fund managers over the past five years—Blumenthal said he doubts that further federal hedge fund regulation is likely.

“I see no immediate prospect of hedge fund regulations at the federal level,” he said. “I think Congress will be quiescent on this issue.”

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