Deborah A. Monson
Deborah is senior counsel in the asset management group. Debbie serves as a trusted advisor to clients, providing pro-active advice and proposing practical solutions to issues confronting asset managers in today’s commercial and regulatory environment. Debbie has represented registered and exempt commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors for over 30 years and also regularly advises private investment funds, mutual funds, endowments, foundations, family offices, and sovereign wealth funds on futures and commodities law matters. Debbie represents U.S. and offshore private investment funds, fund sponsors and investment advisers. She has a wealth of experience with registration, regulation and compliance issues, as well with counseling clients on fund formation, structuring and operational matters, separately managed accounts, marketing, and negotiations and documentation with service providers. This experience includes working with regulators on behalf of clients, assisting with regulatory exams and inquiries, and obtaining exemptive and no-action relief. Debbie also provides compliance and ethics training for CFTC registrants. For institutional investors, Debbie concentrates on reviewing and negotiating the terms of their investments in private funds and managed accounts.
- Advising clients on the implications of financial reform initiatives and initiatives by the CFTC and NFA, including changes in registration exemptions and harmonization issues, increased reporting, developments with respect to swaps and automated trading, cybersecurity, and fund-of-funds issues.
- Advising international asset managers on the launch and expansion of their hedge fund, private equity, and futures platforms in the U.S.
- Advising global asset managers and financial services firms on speculative position limits and related aggregation issues.
- Advising fund sponsors and investment managers on futures and commodities law issues in connection with publicly-traded investment vehicles.
- Advising leading global private equity investment firms on whether specific hedging instruments are within the jurisdiction of the CFTC, and if so, whether the vehicles in the structure are commodity pools subject to CFTC rules.
- Counseling firms ranging from one trader to global enterprises on managing and responding to examinations by the National Futures Association.
- Obtaining no-action relief from the CFTC staff on an issue of first impression for a private equity fund investing in real estate-related assets using commodity interests.
- Co-author, “Amended CFTC Rules Provide Clarity For Asset Managers,” Law360 (February 6, 2020)
- Deborah A. Monson and Jeremy A. Liabo, “Recent CFTC Enforcement Action against Non-U.S. Fund Manager for Violation of U.S. Position Limits Highlights Traps for the Unwary,” Wells Fargo Prime Service’s Industry and Regulatory Update (September 2019)
- Quoted, “Industry Lawyers Take Stock of CFTC Case,” Hedge Fund Alert (July 10, 2019)
- Quoted, “NFA Mandates New Disclosures on Certain Virtual Currency Activities,” The Hedge Fund Law Report (September 20, 2018)
- Deborah A. Monson, Daniel V. Ward, Helen Gugel and Kathryn M. Roulett, “Year in Review: Recent Developments in CFTC Enforcement,” Bloomberg BNA Securities Regulation & Law Report (January 22, 2018)
- Quoted, “NFA exams eye financial reporting, cyber,” Compliance Reporter (August 2, 2017)
- Deborah Monson, Douglas Cunningham and Jeremy Liabo, “CFTC permits registered CTAs to use third-party recordkeepers: What CCOs need to know,” Compliance Reporter (May 24, 2017)
- Quoted, “CFTC proposal holds harsh surprise for asset owners,” Pensions & Investments (May 29, 2017)
- Quoted, “CFTC amends position limits aggregation rules,” Compliance Reporter (January 25, 2017)
- Quoted, “Effort to police algorithms raising alarms,” Pensions & Investments (August 8, 2016)
- Featured, “NFA Examination Process,” Wiley Finance Series’ Financial Regulation and Compliance: How to Manage Competing and Overlapping Regulatory Oversight (July 2015)
- Deborah A. Monson and Jeremy A. Liabo, “NFA Inspections—Practical Guidance for CPOs and CTAs,” The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation (February 18, 2015)
- Quoted, “NFA Eyes Firms’ Compliance Cultures,” Compliance Intelligence (January 21, 2015)
- Author, “CFTC Staff Issues Self-Executing Registration Relief for Certain Delegating CPOs,” Thomson Reuters’ Derivatives Financial Products Report (November 19, 2014)
- Author, “How to Approach New CPO Registration Relief” Compliance Intelligence (October 30, 2014)
- Quoted, “NFA Warns on Late PQR Filings,” Compliance Intelligence (October 2014)
- Featured, "Practical Guidance for Hedge Fund Managers on Preparing For and Handling NFA Audits," The Hedge Fund Law Report (October 2014)
- “Ropes & Gray lawyer is a rare commodity,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (August 13, 2014)
- Quoted, “CPO Delegation: CFTC Guide Welcomed, Creates Work,” Compliance Intelligence (May 29, 2014)
- Quoted, “Exclusive: NFA By-law 1101 focus surprises hedge funds,” HFMCompliance (May 20, 2014)
- Quoted, “Divide and Conquer: The CFTC/ NFA Relationship,” HFMCompliance (April 28, 2014)
- Quoted, “Exclusive: CTAs unprepared for CFTC record keeping,” HFMCompliance (April 15, 2014)
- Quoted, “Ropes & Gray Partners Share Experience and Best Practices Regarding the JOBS Act, the Volcker Rule, Broker Registration, Information Barriers, Examination Priorities, Multi-Year Incentive Fees and Swap Execution Facilities,” The Hedge Fund Law Report (January 2014)
- Quoted, “Funds Find Exemption Options Limited,” Compliance Intelligence (April 15, 2013)
- Quoted, “Registration, Reporting, Disclosure and Operational Consequences for Hedge Fund Managers of the SEC’s New “Regulatory Assets Under Management” Calculation,” The Hedge Fund Law Report (March 1, 2012)
- “Certain Funds Can Get Relief From CFTC Registration,” Law360 (December 13, 2012)
- “Investment Adviser Registration and Disclosures,” Managed Funds Association Reporter (Fall 2009)
- Hedge Funds 2008, “Hedge Fund Derivative Products,” Practicing Law Institute (2008)
- Panelist, “2018 in Review: The Hedge Funds Industry,” Ropes & Gray Webinar (January 23, 2019)
- Panelist, “2017 In Review: The Hedge Funds Industry,” Ropes & Gray Webinar (January 10, 2018)
- Speaker, “Financial Ratio Reporting to NFA: New Requirements for CPOS and CTAs Including How to Calculate the Ratios, Recordkeeping and NFA’s Examination Approach,” GAIM Ops Cayman (April 24, 2017)
- Speaker, “Increased Scrutiny of Futures and Derivatives Market Participants: Key Areas of DOJ, CFTC and Exchange Enforcement,” Ropes & Gray Webinar (October 2015)
- Presenter, “Regulatory Scrutiny,” Ropes & Gray and Chambers & Partners’ Hot Topics in Asset Management (October 7, 2015)
- Presenter, “Hot Topics in Asset Management,” University of Chicago Law School (November 19, 2014)
- Speaker, “Hot Topics in National Futures Association Audits 2014,” The Knowledge Congress (October 6, 2014)
- Presenter, “JOBS Act and Other Reg D Changes: Impact on Private Funds,” Institutional Investor Legal Forum 2013 West Coast Workshop (July 30, 2013)
- Presenter, “NFA Inspections of CPOs and CTAs,” GAIM Ops Cayman Conference (April 22, 2013)
- Presenter, “SEC Audit Best Practices,” 12th Annual Illinois Venture Capital Association CFO Summit (October 18, 2012)
- JD, University of Michigan Law School, 1985
- AB, Princeton University, 1980
Admissions / Qualifications
- Illinois, 1985
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1985
- Chambers USA (2020)
- Crain’s Chicago Business “Chicago’s Notable Women Lawyers” (2018, 2020)
- The Best Lawyers in America “Lawyer of the Year” in Chicago for Private Funds / Hedge Funds Law (2015)
- The Best Lawyers in America, Private Funds/Hedge Funds Law (2006-2021)
- Who's Who Legal, Private Funds Formation and Regulatory (2015-2020)
- Legal 500, Fund Formation and Management (Alternatives/ Hedge Funds) (2014-2020)
- Martindale-Hubbell Highest Peer Review Rating