The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission examined 400 private equity firms and found that more than half inflated the fees and expenses charged to portfolio companies.
Citing a person “with knowledge of the SEC's findings,” Bloomberg reported that while some of the problems seem to represent mistakes, some may have been deliberate.
The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act gave the regulator greater authority to monitor the $3.5 trillion p.e. space. According to the source, by December 2012, SEC examiners had found evidence of miscalculation of fees, improper collection of money from portfolio firms and use of fund assets to cover company expenses.
“A lot of the practices, in the eyes of the SEC, raise conflicts,” Barry Barbash, co-head of the asset-management group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher in Washington, told Bloomberg. “The SEC wants those conflicts aired out and wants certain practices ultimately changed, and I’m sure we’re going to see it.”