Guidelines indicate when asset managers may legitimately use ESG or sustainability-related terms in their fund names.

By Nicola Higgs, Laura Ferrell, and Charlotte Collins

On 14 May 2024, ESMA published its final Guidelines on funds’ names using ESG- or sustainability-related terms. The Guidelines aim to address the risk of funds’ names misleading investors by ensuring that their names can be supported in a material way by evidence of sustainability characteristics or objectives that are reflected fairly and consistently in the fund’s investment objectives and policy.

ESMA originally consulted on the Guidelines in November 2022 (see this blog post), but finalisation has been delayed while reviews of the AIFMD and UCITS Directive were completed. Notably, ESMA received substantive feedback on the consultation and made several amendments to the Guidelines accordingly.

SEC defines the phrase “as part of a regular business” to capture private funds and other market participants that take on liquidity-providing roles.

By Marlon Q. Paz, Stephen P. Wink, Naim Culhaci, and Jessmine Lee

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted new rules that expand the definition of “dealer” and “government securities dealer” under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act), requiring registration by market participants that take on significant liquidity-providing roles. The February 6

Regulation SE, the last of the Title VII Dodd-Frank rulemakings, will become effective on February 13, 2024.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a significant step in enhancing the regulatory landscape of the financial markets by adopting new Regulation SE (17 CFR 242.800 through 242.835) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act). The final rules establish a comprehensive framework for the registration and oversight of security-based swap execution facilities (SBSEFs) in compliance with Title VII of

Benchmark administrators should review the quality of their ESG benchmark disclosures ahead of a review by EU regulators during 2024.

By Nicola HiggsBecky Critchley, Anne Mainwaring, Ella McGinn, and Charlotte Collins

On 13 December 2023, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s financial markets regulator and supervisor, announced its plans to launch a Common Supervisory Action (CSA). Along with National Competent Authorities (NCAs), ESMA plans to review the mandatory disclosures of benchmark administrators providing benchmarks that pursue ESG objectives under the EU Benchmarks Regulation (EU BMR).

The CSA is the first that ESMA will conduct since it assumed its direct supervisory role under the EU BMR. As part of the CSA, ESMA and the NCAs will share knowledge and experience to harmonise how they supervise ESG disclosure requirements for benchmark administrators.

The priorities highlight emerging and core risk areas for investment advisers, broker-dealers, and other entities, including cybersecurity and crypto assets.

By Laura Ferrell, Aaron Gilbride, Marlon Q. Paz, Jamie Lynn Walter, Stephen P. Wink, Naim Culhaci, and Deric Behar

On October 16, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Examinations (the Division) published its annual examination priorities for 2024 (2024 Priorities), which focus on “certain practices, products, and services that [the Division] believes present potentially heightened risks to investors or the integrity of the U.S. capital markets.” The Division will prioritize areas that pose emerging risks to investors or the markets, as well as examinations of core and perennial risk areas. The 2024 Priorities include certain of these focus areas, but are not an exhaustive list.

The 2024 Priorities are primarily organized by entity, with just four thematic topics broken out separately as applicable to a wide range of market participants: (1) information security and operational resiliency; (2) crypto assets and emerging financial technology; (3) regulation systems compliance and integrity; and (4) anti-money laundering. Notably, ESG was not specifically identified as a priority in adviser reviews for the first time in years.

The Division will continue to prioritize examinations of advisers and investment companies that have never been examined, including new registrants, as well as those that have not been examined for a number of years.

The amendments aim to modernize the Names Rule and promote investor protection objectives by ensuring that a fund’s portfolio of holdings aligns with its name.

By Laura N. Ferrell, Sarah E. Fortt, Betty M. Huber, Paul A. Davies, Nicola Higgs, Anne Mainwaring, Karmpreet (Preeti) Grewal, Austin J. Pierce, and Deric Behar

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted amendments to Rule 35d-1 under the Investment Company Act governing naming conventions for

The amendments have a substantial impact on private fund managers.

By Laura N. Ferrell, Aaron Gilbride, Michael Milazzo, Jamie Lynn Walter, Mike Hart-Slattery, and Haley Hohensee

On August 23, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a final rule package (each a Rule, and together, the Rules) that modifies the regulation of private fund advisers under the US Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the Advisers Act).

Among other things, the Rules require

Form 13F filers will need to file their first Form N-PX covering the period of July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024, by August 31, 2024.

By Stephen P. Wink, Naim Culhaci, Laura Ferrell, Aaron Gilbride, Matthew Lee, and Jacqueline Marie Rugart

Rule 14Ad1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act), which was adopted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last fall, and will become effective on July 1, 2024, will institute a new requirement for institutional investment managers that are required to file Form 13F pursuant to Section 13(f) of the Exchange Act (13F Filers) to additionally publicly report how they voted via proxy for certain executive compensation matters on Form N-PX. Previously, the requirement to publicly report proxy voting records through Form N-PX was generally limited to registered investment companies.

The narrower M&A broker exemption supersedes the 2014 M&A broker no-action letter while leaving state-level restrictions and foreign M&A broker relief unaffected.

By Marlon Q. Paz, Stephen P. Wink, Naim Culhaci, Donald Thompson, and Deric Behar

On March 29, 2023, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) was amended to exempt certain “M&A brokers” from registration as broker-dealers with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The amendment, Exchange Act Section 15(b)(13), signed into law on December 29, 2022, as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2617), largely codifies previously granted SEC Staff no-action relief, albeit with certain limitations. Like the prior no-action relief, the new legislation does not preempt state or territorial laws concerning broker-dealer registration.

Persons previously relying on the M&A broker no-action letter should carefully examine the new exemption and related existing state and foreign relief to determine what, if any, implications the new law poses with regard to continued reliance.