US Securities and Exchange Commission responds to challenge to new rules by private funds

By Chris Prentice

(Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday defended its overhaul of rules for private funds, responding in a court filing to a lawsuit from six private equity and hedge fund trade groups.

The trade lobbying groups in September sued the top U.S. markets regulator, saying the agency overstepped its authorities when adopting sweeping new expense and disclosure rules. The changes require private funds to issue a swath of new reports and to perform annual audits, as well as disclose certain fee structures.

The funds said the new rules were arbitrary and capricious.

The SEC said its filing on Friday that it had followed proper procedure in its rulemaking and that the private funds had not shown that the agency had exceeded its authority. The SEC said it was prepared to defend its case with oral arguments in court.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has previously said the rules will boost transparency and competition in a private funds sector accused by advocacy groups of opacity and conflicts of interest. Such funds oversee around $20 trillion in assets and have been accused by advocacy groups of opacity and conflicts of interest.

Wall Street and their trade groups have kicked off a wave of lawsuits to fight a slew of new rules from Democratic President Joe Biden’s regulators. Industry executives have said firms are more willing to litigate than in the past because they see the regulations as ill-conceived and rushed.

(Reporting by Chris Prentice and Dan Whitcomb; editing by Jonathan Oatis)