September 12, 2016

House Passes Private Equity Deregulation Bill

Here’s news from the intro of this WSJ article:

House lawmakers on Friday approved a bill to ease regulatory requirements on private-equity managers, legislation that the White House has threatened to veto. The House voted 261 to 145 to advance the bill sponsored by Rep. Robert Hurt (R., Va.), largely along party lines. The measure exempts private-equity firms from having to provide regulators with certain information, such as the debt levels of their portfolio companies and the countries where investments were made.

The legislation, which lacks a companion bill in the Senate and is opposed by the Obama administration, faces long odds of becoming law. Its likelihood of enactment hangs on the possibility of its provisions being added to a must-pass spending bill Congress often advances at the end of the year. The bill comes after years of failed attempts by the industry to exempt most managers of private-equity funds from having to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Instead, Friday’s legislation aims to roll back regulatory provisions that supporters say are unduly burdensome and crimp funds’ investment in companies that create jobs. Thirty-five Democrats supported the measure. Managers of private-equity funds pool their money alongside institutional investors such as pension funds and university endowments to buy equity stakes in companies or pieces of them.

Before Friday’s vote, the House agreed to modify some provisions that opponents found objectionable, approving by voice vote an amendment sponsored by Rep. Bill Foster, an Illinois Democrat. The amendment has the effect of preserving investor-protection rules set up in the wake of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. Those rules require that funds undergo a third-party audit or a surprise SEC examination to verify they actually own the assets they say they do.

Broc Romanek