A proposal to ease testimonial restrictions on SEC-registered investment advisors and reduce record-keeping requirements for private equity company advisors is in the incubation stage in Congress.
Given the dwindling number of days Congress will be in session this election year, the legislation appears to have a better chance of becoming law in 2017 under a new House, Senate and president.
A draft of the Investment Advisers Modernization Act, which was unveiled at a hearing Tuesday held by the House Financial Services Committee’s subcommittee on capital markets, would allow advisors to advertise testimonials and past recommendations if the ads were distributed only to accredited investors, qualified purchasers, knowledgeable employees and qualified clients.
For private equity funds, the bill would reduce record-keeping obligations and eliminate the requirement of an annual surprise audit.
The legislation in its present form has the support of the Investment Adviser Association and the private equity industry’s main trade group, the American Investment Council (formerly the Private Equity Growth Capital Council).
Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican and chair of the capital markets subcommittee, said the changes are long overdue, but the lead Democrat on the committee, New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, said she is concerned the bill may make too many sweeping changes in books and records and advertising rules.
Garrett is in a tough re-election battle, and both the House of Representatives and the Senate, now in Republican control, could have Democrat majorities in January.
The bill is being co-sponsored by Virginia Republican Robert Hurt (who is not running for re-election), and California Democrat Juan Vargas.
This year, Vargas has raised $169,300 (nearly one-third of his campaign war chest) from the securities and investment, commercial bank and insurance industries, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Tom Quaadman, a senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, said at the hearing that the reductions in private equity fund record-keeping would aid cybersecurity because it would eliminate the funds’ need for storing troves of data and analysis on companies the funds may ultimately not invest in.