US: SEC Imposes New Rules to Increase Oversight of Hedge Funds

As published on: theglobaltreasurer.com, Friday 9 February, 2024. 

The SEC's decision to impose new rules that require private funds to register as dealers reflects the agency's commitment to increasing oversight and ensuring market integrity.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently imposed new rules aimed at increasing oversight of hedge funds. These rules require many private funds to register with the agency as dealers, in an effort to better monitor the market for U.S. government debt.

This move comes as part of the SEC’s broader agenda to enhance regulatory oversight and ensure market integrity.

The SEC’s decision to implement these new rules stems from the need to address potential vulnerabilities and risks in the private funds industry, particularly in relation to the trading of US government debt. By requiring funds to register as dealers, the SEC aims to improve transparency, protect the interests of the public, and facilitate capital formation.

SEC Chair, Gary Gensler, emphasized the importance of these rules in promoting market integrity, stating, “When dealers register, they become subject to a variety of important laws and rules that help protect the public, promote market integrity, and facilitate capital formation.”

Impact on the Private Funds Industry
The private funds industry, along with high-frequency trading firms, has expressed concerns about the potential impact of these new rules.

Some industry experts predict that the rules could lead to an exodus of investment companies from the US Treasuries market, potentially causing greater instability.

Both Senator Bill Hagerty and politician French Hill , both Republicans, have also voiced their concerns in a letter to SEC Chair Gensler. They argue that the new rules may exacerbate liquidity strains in the market for US government debt, further destabilizing the market.

SEC’s Response to Concerns
In response to these concerns, the SEC made some adjustments to the initial proposal of the rules.

One significant change was the removal of a provision that would have required anyone trading more than $25 billion worth of Treasuries in four of the last six calendar months to register as a broker-dealer. This modification aims to address concerns raised by industry participants while still ensuring increased oversight.

MFA CEO Bryan Corbett applauded the SEC’s decision to drop the quantitative trigger provision.

However, he expressed continued concerns about the potential impact on alternative asset managers, stating, “Alternative asset managers are not dealers, and MFA is concerned that the Rule may not go far enough in excluding them and private funds from being regulated as dealers.”

The Crypto Industry’s Concerns
The new rules have also raised concerns within the cryptocurrency industry.

Changes in the legal definition of securities “dealer” could potentially encompass a wide range of crypto traders who provide liquidity on decentralized digital asset exchanges.

This has sparked fears that the rules may inadvertently stifle innovation and growth in the crypto market.

Continued Battles Between the SEC and Private Funds Industry
The private funds industry has been increasingly at odds with the SEC in recent years. The Managed Funds Association (MFA), which represents alternative asset managers, has filed multiple lawsuits against the SEC, challenging various rules related to short sale disclosures and quarterly performance reporting.

Despite the ongoing tensions, the SEC remains committed to its mission of protecting investors and maintaining fair and efficient markets. These new rules are part of a broader regulatory agenda aimed at safeguarding the financial system and promoting transparency and accountability.

Attempting to build resilience
While concerns have been raised about the potential impact on the industry, the SEC has made efforts to address these concerns and strike a balance between regulatory oversight and the need for market stability.

As the private funds industry continues to evolve, it is essential for regulators to adapt and implement measures that promote transparency, protect investors, and foster a robust and resilient financial system.


SEC US Hedge Funds