Last week, at Rockefeller Center in New York, the Riverside Company hosted 20 private equity chief financial officers, compliance professionals and in-house counsel to talk about how the industry should respond to a spate of new regulations, some of which they feel have resulted in unnecessary compliance costs.
Joining the meeting were 45 of their industry peers via conference call. The get-together is the product of a new regulatory taskforce created by the Association for Corporate Growth, a group dedicated to mid-market interests, which recently began having regular conversations with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officials about industry regulatory issues like broker-dealer registration and the complex custody rule.
An open invitation for CFO/CCOs to join was first put out by ACG chairwoman Pam Hendrickson, who is also chief operating officer of Riverside, during the 2014 PEI CFOs and COOs Forum held in New York earlier this January. Out of the 400 delegates in attendance at the event, a few went on to immediately answer her call.
At the taskforce's inaugural meeting, participants were given a rundown on the industry's biggest regulatory risks, and encouraged to take a more proactive role with government affairs, said Hendrickson in an email exchange with pfm.
“The first meeting was to help CFOs stay abreast of what's happening in Washington DC. It's also beginning the process of CFOs networking and organizing so people can share ideas and communicate compliance best practices,” Hendrickson said.
Over the coming weeks ACG will determine the group's agenda and priorities. To that end, ACG recently polled some 200 US-based investment advisers to ask about their top compliance concerns. A strong majority (75 percent) of respondents cited SEC exams as the biggest compliance issue keeping them up at night.
As new regulations accelerate the industry's institutionalization, CFOs have shown a greater willingness to gather together to discuss what the changes mean for the profession. While the Private Equity CFO Association has been providing this type of forum for years, groups like ACG and the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC) have recently made similar efforts.
Last month the PEGCC held its own inaugural “Chief Financial Officers' Day,” at which 29 private equity CFOs and senior executives from the PEGCC's associate member firms discussed such issues as the role of technology for CFOs and the current regulatory environment.
(Editor’s note: CFOs/CCOs and others interested in joining the ACG regulatory taskforce can do so by emailing ACG senior director of public policy Amber Landis at email@example.com or by direct dial at 312-957-4272.)