SEC Targets Use of Side Pockets by Hedge Funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission's Asset Management Unit has been investigating whether hedge fund managers have overvalued assets in "side pockets" and then charged investors higher fees based on those inflated values. A side pocket is a type of account that hedge funds use to separate certain illiquid investments from the rest of their portfolio. Investors are typically not permitted to redeem their interest in a fund with respect to assets allocated to a side pocket until such assets have been liquidated or reallocated to the general portfolio by the investment manager.

Recent charges brought by the SEC highlight the need for hedge fund managers to establish reasonable policies for the valuation of illiquid assets and carefully adhere to such policies when valuing assets allocated to a side pocket. On October 19, 2010, the SEC charged two hedge fund managers and their investment advisory businesses with defrauding investors by overvaluing illiquid fund assets they placed in a side pocket. According to the SEC complaint, Paul T. Mannion, Jr and Andrews S. Reckles, through their investment adviser entities PEF Advisors Ltd. and PEF Advisors LLC, caused certain investments made by Palisades Master Fund, L.P. to be overvalued by millions of dollars.

Read SEC Targets Use of Side Pockets by Hedge Funds in its entirety on Investment Fund Law Blog, providing updates and insights on legal issues facing fund managers and investors.