House Votes to Shield Private Equity Firms From Dodd-Frank Disclosure
The House of Representatives used one of its few remaining legislative days in 2013 to pass a measure Wednesday that would exempt private equity firms like Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital from disclosure rules in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
The Dodd-Frank law requires financial advisers who manage more than $150 million in private funds to disclose detailed information to the Securities and Exchange Commission — information that the SEC uses to protect investors in the formerly secretive funds and to help evaluate systemic risks that could threaten the broader economy.
But House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) argued during the House floor debate before the vote that it is too burdensome for many such private equity firms to satisfy the rather complex filing requirements, and paying the costs would mean less capital going to create new companies and jobs. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) argued that some firms would quit the business of raising money and investing in companies if they had to comply.
“The compliance costs for these smaller firms in towns like Columbus, Ohio, will be especially high as a percentage; and it could drive many of them out of business,” Stivers said.
Further, Hensarling argued, the deep-pocketed investors in such private funds are sophisticated and thus don’t need extra protection from the SEC.