Ropes & Gray Asset Management Attorneys Cited Widely on the Asset Management Industry in 2019, and Outlook for 2020

In The News
January 10, 2020

Attorneys from Ropes & Gray’s Asset Management Group were cited widely in a number of articles reviewing the asset management industry in 2019, and the outlook for the sector in 2020. 

In a Dec. 27, Financial Times piece titled “Hedge funds record best year since 2013 but still trail market, asset management partner and hedge funds practice leader Laurel FitzPatrick, noted “that the last few years have been tough ones [for the hedge fund industry].” “If you’re shorting at all, the long-running bull market is tough competition.” 

“While the hedge fund industry has been less of a visible target amid the SEC’s focus on retail investors, private funds are still very much on the radar, asset management partner Joel Wattenbarger stated in a FundFire article titled Hedge Managers Face Stiffer Compliance Challenges in 2020.” There will be a “continuing substantial focus on private funds and I see no reason that won’t continue in 2020,” he continued. Mr. Wattenbarger’s insights were also featured in a HFMCompliance piece titled “Compliance 2020: US and Cayman Islands” 

In a Law360 article titled 3 Types Of PE Funds Attys Can Expect To See More Of In 2020,” asset management partner and private funds specialty group co-head Morri Weinberg stated that in the private equity industry, “there was a lot of secondaries activity [in 2019] and we continue to believe there’s going to be a lot of activity in 2020 as well.” In a separate Law360 article titled “4 Ways You Can Land More Big-Ticket Deals In 2020,” asset management partner Jason Brown highlights the impending election and the industry’s anticipation of potential changes to the SEC. “The administration greatly affects how the SEC itself operates,” said Mr. Brown. 

Remarks from asset management partner Brian McCabe and asset management counsel Ed Baer were featured in a Barron’s article titled “ETFs Have Had an Explosive Decade. They Could Keep Growing, According to One Firm,” that examines prospects for the ETF industry, noting its rapid growth in the last decade. Various new rules issued by the SEC in 2019 relating to ETFs “level the regulatory playing field” and should "enhance competition and innovation in ETFs," Mr. McCabe outlines in the piece. Mr. Baer said he anticipates new product development as a result of the new rules, noting that "sponsors now have the ability to use custom creation and redemption baskets."

Asset management partner Jeremy Smith was cited heavily throughout an Ignites article titled ETFs, Liquidity Rule to Dominate 2020 CCO Agendas,” delivering insights on the final ETF Rule. “If you are a CCO involved with ETFs, you’re going to have a busy 2020,” Mr. Smith states, outlining how new protocols for adherence with the rule will need to be established. In the same piece, asset management counsel Ed Baer notes that the SEC’s recent approval of actively managed semi-transparent [ETF] products could bring new entrants to the market. Firms will likely try convert to existing mutual funds into ETFs, “as a way of tapping into the growth momentum that the ETF markets are experiencing,” Mr. Baer adds. 

A Jan. 2 Financial Advisor piece titled Will This Be The Big ETF Story Of 2020?reviews the horizon for active semi-transparent ETFs, citing from a Ropes & Gray client alert  on the non- and semi-transparent active ETF exemptive models, also quoting asset management partner Brian McCabe. “Broadly speaking, they’re all designed to protect some portfolio information while providing transparency through other mechanisms,” says Mr. McCabe in the article.