Joel A. Wattenbarger
Joel Wattenbarger represents investment management clients, focusing primarily on hedge funds, funds of funds, private equity funds and fund managers. He advises clients on the establishment of funds and fund management companies, trading and other operational issues, and compliance issues faced by registered investment advisers. Most recently, Joel has devoted substantial time to advising hedge fund and other private fund clients on the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act and proposed and final rules issued by the SEC under the Act. Joel also has considerable experience representing institutional investors in private investment funds.
Joel has represented a number of private funds and fund managers in connection with the establishment of fund management companies and the organization of hedge funds, private equity funds and funds of funds. Joel’s advice to fund managers has covered the drafting of fund agreements and offering documents, facilitating strategic investments by seed investors in newly-established funds, negotiating with prime brokers, administrators and other service providers to funds, trading issues, investor relations, fund restructurings, and wind-downs.
Joel has also advised fund managers and their principals with respect to economic and governance issues at fund management companies. He has advised US and foreign investment managers regarding the US investment adviser regulatory regime and has assisted numerous advisers with registering as an adviser and adopting and administering compliance policies and procedures.
Joel also has extensive experience representing institutional investors, including pension plans, endowments, insurance companies and funds-of-funds, in making investments in private investment funds and other structured investment vehicles. These investments have included both traditional hedge fund and fund of fund investments as well as specialized vehicles established to pursue highly customized investment strategies.
- Advised the U.S. investment office of a large European pension fund with respect to the spin-out of the client’s internal hedge fund management team, with responsibility for approximately $10 billion in assets under management. This matter required detailed understanding of the client’s business goals and applicable U.S. and foreign legal, tax and accounting issues, as well as sensitivity to the personal relationships between our client and the newly-independent management team. The spin out was a success and our client is now planning to expand its relationship with the external management company.
- Advised an established private fund manager in connection with the establishment of a joint venture and the organization and offering of a credit opportunities hedge fund to be managed under the joint venture. The joint venture and fund offering required careful structuring to address commercial and regulatory issues raised by our client’s separate management interests.
- Advised multiple hedge fund clients with respect to legal issues arising from the credit crisis and associated market turmoil, including the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the adoption by the SEC and other regulatory agencies of emergency short sale rules. These matters demanded the ability to absorb and process developments and advise clients in real time, based on applicable law and market developments, as well as the investment strategies, brokerage arrangements, and fund terms of each client.
- Quoted, “The SEC Is Calling: How CCOs Can Stay Prepared for Initial Communications With OCIE Examiners (Part Two of Two),” The Hedge Fund Law Report (September 20, 2018)
- Quoted, “The SEC Is Calling: What CCOs Should Expect During Initial Communications With OCIE Examiners (Part One of Two),” The Hedge Fund Law Report (September 13, 2018)
- Quoted, “Understanding the SEC’s National Exam Program: Recent Exam Trends and How Fund Managers Can Determine the Type of Exam OCIE Is Conducting (Part Two of Two),” The Hedge Fund Law Report (July 19, 2018)
- Quoted, “Understanding the SEC’s National Exam Program: How OCIE Selects Advisers to Examine (Part One of Two),” The Hedge Fund Law Report (July 12, 2018)
- Co-author, “SEC Proposals – Form CRS Client Relationship Summary for Advisers and Broker-Dealers; Best Interest Standard of Conduct for Broker-Dealers,” Wolters Kluwer’s Securities Regulation Daily (July 12, 2018)
- Co-author, “SEC Releases Proposed Adviser Conduct Standard and Request for Comment on Enhancing Adviser Regulations,” Wolters Kluwer’s Securities Regulation Daily (July 11, 2018)
- Quoted, “Best practice for hedge funds using hypothetical and model performance,” HFMCompliance (January 12, 2018)
- Quoted, “Avoiding Common Pitfalls Under the Custody Rule: Custody Determination, Auditor Independence and Liquidation Audits (Part Two of Two),” The Hedge Fund Law Report (April 6, 2017)
- Quoted, “OCIE Director Marc Wyatt Details Use of Technology and Coordination With Other Agencies to Execute OCIE’s Four-Pillar Mission,” The Hedge Fund Law Report (November 3, 2016)
- Quoted, “Best Practices for Promoting Internal Reporting of Compliance Issues Without Violating SEC and CFTC Whistleblower Rules (Part One of Two),” Hedge Fund Legal & Compliance Digest (August 4, 2016)
- Quoted, “Fees, Conflicts, Investment Allocations and Other Hot Topics Hedge Fund Managers Should Expect During an SEC Examination (Part Two of Two),” The Hedge Fund Law Report (June 30, 2016)
- Quoted, “What Hedge Fund Managers Need to Know About Getting Through an SEC Examination (Part One of Two),” The Hedge Fund Law Report (June 16, 2016)
- Quoted, “House committee approves amended investment rules,” Private Funds Management (June 17, 2016)
- Co-author, “Preparing to file Form ADV,” The US Private Equity Fund Compliance Guide (Private Equity International, April 2016)
- Co-author, “How to write a compliance manual,” The US Private Equity Fund Compliance Guide (Private Equity International, April 2016)
- Author, “Compliance roundtable,” The US Private Equity Fund Compliance Guide, Volume III (Private Equity International, November 2015)
- Co-author, “Mind your step! Avoiding the legal pitfalls of being an operating partner,” Operating Partner in Private Equity, Volume 2 (Private Equity International, June 2015)
- Co-Author “The SEC’s Current Views on Private Equity,” Law360 (June 1, 2015)
- Quoted, “SEC Seen Offering Compliance Aid on Custody Rule,” Compliance Intelligence (April 14, 2015)
- Jason E. Brown and Joel Wattenbarger, “Identifying Next Year’s SEC Priorities,” PEI Manager (January 29, 2015)
- Author, “Compliance for multi-strategy firms,” The US Private Equity Fund Compliance Companion (Private Equity International, March 2012)
- Co-author, “Preparing to file Form ADV 13,” The US Private Equity Fund Compliance Guide (Private Equity International, January 2012)
- Co-author, “How to write a compliance manual,” The US Private Equity Fund Compliance Guide (Private Equity International, January 2012)
- Joel Wattenbarger, “Compliance for multi-strategy firms,” The US Private Equity Fund Compliance Companion (2012)
- Joel Wattenbarger, Jason E. Brown, Mark Nuccio and Alyssa Clough, "Proposed Volcker Rule and the Effect on Private Fund Sponsors and Investors," Hedge Fund Law Report (October 2011)
- Joel A. Wattenbarger and Jason E. Brown, "SEC Adopts Rules to Implement the Private Fund Investment Advisers Registration Act," VCEXPERTS (June 2011)
- Co-author, “Preparing to file Form ADV,” The US Private Equity Fund Compliance Guide (Private Equity International, October 2010)
- Co-author, “How to write a compliance manual,” The US Private Equity Fund Compliance Guide (Private Equity International, 2010)
- Panelist, “2017 In Review: The Hedge Funds Industry,” Ropes & Gray Webinar (January 10, 2018)
- Panelist, “Trends in Enforcement and Compliance for the Private Fund Industry,” Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy and UCLA School of Law Private Fund Conference (May 18, 2017)
- Moderator, “Implementing a robust process to mitigate and resolve conflicts of interest,” Private Fund Compliance Forum 2017 (May 9, 2017)
- Panelist, “Ethics,” Managed Funds Association’s 2017 Legal & Compliance Conference (May 9, 2017)
- Panelist, “Conflicts Associated with End Of Life Funds,” ACA Compliance Conference (May 3, 2017)
- Panelist, “A View from the Front: Practical Lessons Learned from Private Funds SEC Examinations,” Major, Lindsey & Africa General Counsel Luncheon (June 7, 2016)
- Moderator, “Effecting SEC compliant marketing and advertising standards,” Private Fund Compliance Forum 2016 (May 11, 2016)
- Panelist, “SEC and NFA Exams: What To Expect,” MFA Compliance 2016 (May 10, 2016)
- Speaker “SEC Oversight of the Alternative Investment Market and How the Industry is Adapting: Emerging Trends, Areas of Focus, and Examination Considerations,” Operations for Alternatives 2016 Conference (February 1, 2016)
- Panelist, “Investment Advisor Custody Rule,” SIFMA’s Asset Managers Forum Workshop on Alternative Investment Operations (October 2015)
- Speaker, “Fees and expenses: how you should be looking at your policies going forward,” Private Equity International’s Private Fund Compliance Forum 2015 (May 14, 2015)
- Speaker, "Addressing The Regulatory Challenges That Are On The Horizon," Private Fund Compliance Forum (May 7, 2014)
- Speaker, “The role of directors and advisory board members in the governance of private equity and hedge funds,” IBA’s 13th Annual International Conference on Private Investment Funds (March 2012)