January 05, 2012
Sunday Scholarship at AALS: Institutionalization, Investment Adviser Regulation, and the Hedge Fund Problem
Posted by Erik Gerding

This is the third installment of a series of previews of the papers being presented at the AALS Financial Institutions & Consumer Financial Services Section meeting this Sunday from 9 am to 10:45 am at the Marriott Wardman Park.

Anita Krug (Univ. of Washington) authored the third paper in our Sunday Panel, Institutionalization, Investment Adviser Regulation, and the Hedge Fund Problem (forthcoming in the Hastings Law Journal).  Professor Krug looks at the regulation of investment advisers, a corner of financial regulation that has mushroomed in importance in practice, but has not enjoyed enough focus in legal scholarship (for one exception, see Laby).

Her paper remedies that and points scholars to securities law beyond the ’33 and ’34 Act. As scholars focus on longstanding debates, high stakes turf wars have erupted in the world of regulatory practice over the boundaries of investment adviser regulation, the regulation of broker-dealers, and hedge fund regulation generally. At the same time Krug’s work fits into a body of work (e.g., Langevoort) that focus on another seismic shift by examining the regulatory consequences of the fact that capital markets investing is now dominated by institutions not retail investors.

Moreover, Krug’s paper fills a scholarly void at the nexus of securities regulation and financial institution regulation and shows the wide scope of the latter. Here is her abstract:

This Article contends that more effective regulation of investment advisers could be achieved by recognizing that the growth of hedge funds, private equity funds, and other private funds in recent decades is a manifestation of institutionalization in the investment advisory context. That is, investment advisers today commonly advise these “institutions,” which have supplanted other, smaller investors as advisory clients. However, the federal securities statute governing investment advisers, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, does not address the role of private funds as institutions that now intermediate those smaller investors’ relationships to investment advisers. Consistent with that failure, investment adviser regulation regards a private fund, rather than the fund’s investors, as both the “client” of the fund’s adviser and the “thing” to which the adviser owes its obligations. The regulatory stance that the fund is the client, which recent financial regulatory reform did not change, renders the Advisers Act incoherent in its application to investment advisers managing private funds and, more importantly, thwarts the objective behind the Advisers Act: investor protection. This Article shows that policymakers’ focus should be trained primarily on the intermediated investors – those who place their capital in private funds – rather than on the funds themselves and proposes a new approach to investment adviser regulation. In particular, investment advisers to private funds should owe their regulatory obligations not only to the funds they manage but also to the investors in those funds.

We are fortunate to have Kristin Johnson (Seton Hall) act as discussant for this paper.

AALS, Financial Institutions, Hedge Funds, Investing, Legal Scholarship, Securities | Bookmark

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