Ron Geffner, Sadis & Goldberg

Sadis & Goldberg LLP – Best North American Law Firm

Download the special report Hedgeweek USA Awards 2014

Sadis & Goldberg LLP is one of New York’s leading law firms. The Financial Services Group, which enjoys an international reputation, is headed up by partner Ron Geffner (pictured) and consists of a team of 13 seasoned legal professionals.

They routinely handle a diverse range of enquiries across the investment universe providing legal counsel to several hundred investment advisers, broker-dealers and commodity pool operators that sponsor, manage and advise hedge funds, private equity funds, venture capital funds and separately managed accounts.
 
In addition to the Financial Services Group, Sadis & Goldberg provides a full range of sophisticated legal services, including complex tax, securities, commercial and employment litigation and arbitration, corporate governance and shareholder activism, fiduciary duty law to derivative transactions, M&A litigation and appraisal rights, as well as investor due diligence, regulatory, real estate, intellectual property and corporate where it represents business entities in all stages of development from pure startups to mature public and private companies.
 
“We have a very active practice with our financial services, regulatory, corporate formation and litigation and defense groups. We have led over 600 hedge funds and other investment funds to success, launching between 70 to 80 funds per year,” says Geffner.
 
“Over the last few years we’ve seen the SEC become more aggressive in its interpretation of whether a particular set of facts or circumstances should result in a deficiency letter or a warning versus a prosecution. The stakes and the risks for managers are much higher than they have been historically. In fact, cases against investment advisers have become the SEC’s number one category of enforcement action for the last three years in a row” comments Geffner.
 
Regulatory filings have, over the last 36 months, created plenty of casework for the firm in addition to labour-based issues and tax and regulatory issues pertaining to FATCA and AIFMD. Another area of casework has been in support of certain managers as they look to diversify their client base by launching follow-on products, “and for that matter the sale and acquisition of asset management businesses,” adds Geffner.
 
The hedge fund industry today has become hyper cost-sensitive and as Geffner sees it, there are three competing factors in play.
 
First is the regulatory environment, which has become more hostile, more costly and more complex. Second, investors have a greater desire for the institutionalisation of a manager’s business. “They have less tolerance of anomalies in terms of the offering,” says Geffner who continues: “Third, managers who below the USD2bn AuM level face increased competition to raise assets from institutional investors. In many cases they are dealing with compression of returns and increased costs of doing business. Those are three big icebergs through which managers have to steer their ship.”
 
Managers must also contend with the risks of having private disputes or morally questionable actions reaching the public through Twitter or other social media channels, which in many cases can be a career killer.
 
“We’ve created an environment where many managers are subject to unrealistic expectations. If investors want protection they must realise that it comes at a cost,” says Geffner when asked to comment on whether the inexorable trend towards institutionalisation and lower fees could squeeze new hedge fund talent out of the industry.
 
On winning this year’s award, Geffner concludes: “The Hedgeweek USA Awards rank amongst the top global awards and we are honored to be recognised by our industry in this category.” 

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Download the special report Hedgeweek USA Awards 2014


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