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In this issue: Public Policy Update | Virtual Event Recordings | Weekly News Roundup

Public Policy Updates

Securities and Exchange Commission


  • SEC Votes 3-2 to Update Accredited Investor Definition. On Wednesday the SEC adopted amendments to the “accredited investor” definition to “add new categories of qualifying natural persons and entities and to make certain other modifications to the existing definition.” The changes now allow investors to qualify based on professional knowledge, experience or certifications in addition to the existing tests for income or net worth.

     

    In a statement, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said, “For the first time, individuals will be permitted to participate in our private capital markets not only based on their income or net worth, but also based on established, clear measures of financial sophistication.” Commissioner Hester M. Peirce also released a statement on the amended definition, calling it a step in the right direction, but asking: why shouldn’t mom and pop retail investors be allowed to invest in private offerings?

     

    Notably, however, the final rule does not index the wealth thresholds to inflation. Democratic Commissioners Crenshaw and Lee opposed the new definitions, expressing concerns over the lack of information and data in the private equity markets that, they believe, is necessary to enable investors to understand the risks.

    ADISA Executive Director John Harrison said, “ADISA applauds the SEC’s expansion of the accredited investor definition and encourages the Commission to examine the potential for an even greater expansion of the definition so that appropriate individual investors can enjoy access to alternative investments and the benefits they can provide to a well-balanced portfolio.”

Department of Labor

  • DOL Will Hold Hearing on Fiduciary Rule in September. The Labor Department has reversed its decision and will hold a hearing on its proposed fiduciary rule on September 3. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, had asked the DOL to hold a hearing but was denied on Aug. 6.

Elections

  • President Trump. President Trump recently talked about his intentions to unilaterally cut taxes, including indexing capital gains to inflation and suspending collection of payroll taxes. Most legal advisors believe that indexing capital gains by executive action is not within the president’s power.
    • Such an action would face a legal challenge. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush asked his advisors to determine how to index capital gains without Congressional action. His advisors ultimately counseled that such a move would require Congressional action.
    • Today’s professional staff at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the White House will likely come to the same conclusions and recommend against such action.
    • However, this is President Trump, and there is always a chance he ignores the legalities and tries to move forward.
    • No Congressional action is imminent. Recently Senate Finance Committee Chairman Grassley told CQ Roll Call that reductions in the capital gains tax or changes to the estate tax are not on his committee’s agenda.  “Neither one of them will be taken up this year,” he said.
    • In four executive actions on August 8, President Trump directed federal agencies to extend student loan relief, provide further wage assistance, expand tax collection deferrals, and explore additional eviction or foreclosure protections. 
  • Senator Joe Biden. The Tax Foundation published a report, Where Does Kamala Harris Stand on Tax Policy?, examining tax policy ideas Harris proposed during her presidential campaign and also looked at how they differ from Biden’s plan. 
    • In spite of the differences there are a few shared policy ideas between the Biden and Harris plans, including:
      • Raising the income tax rate on the top 1% of earners from 37 to 39.6%
      • Increasing the corporate income tax rate
      • Taxing capital gains and dividends at ordinary income tax rates
      • Increasing refundable tax credits for individuals
    • There are notable differences:
      • Biden would increase the corporate income tax rate to 28% versus Harris’ 35%
      • Unlike Harris, Biden’s platform does not include an “income-based premium” to pay for a “Medicare for All” program

Research of Interest

  • The Congressional Research Service published a legal sidebar that explains how President Trump’s executive actions relate to existing or expired CARES Act provisions and potential statutory questions. The sidebar closes by flagging potential issues for Congress. See page five of the full report which addresses eviction and foreclosure protections.
  • An August 7 Congressional Research Service report describes federal financial support, tax incentives and GSE financing available to developers of multifamily housing. (Note: Section 1031 exchanges are not part of the report).

Alts-COVID-virtual-email

Access Recordings from Alts in the Time of COVID

Presentations and recordings from ADISA's virtual conference, Alts in the Time of COVID, held earlier this month, are now available to all members. To access the information, simply log in to your user portal, navigate to the Members Only tab, and select "Alts in Time of COVID: Program Recordings." Should you need any assistance, please contact us at adisa@adisa.org




The Weekly News Roundup

Number-01

 

The DI Wire - SEC Expands Definition of Accredited Investor

Article excerpt: “For the first time, individuals will be permitted to participate in our private capital markets not only based on their income or net worth, but also based on established, clear measures of financial sophistication,” said SEC chairman Jay Clayton. “I am also pleased that we have expanded and updated the list of entities, including tribal governments and other organizations, that may qualify to participate in certain private offerings.”

Number-02

 

ThinkAdvisor - In Reversal, DOL Will Hold Hearing on Fiduciary Rule

Article excerpt: The Labor Department plans to hold a hearing on its proposed fiduciary rule that aims to align with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest, according to a notice in the Federal Register. A Labor spokesperson confirmed to ThinkAdvisor in a late Friday afternoon email message that a hearing is planned.

Number-03

 

The DI Wire – White House Report Reveals Opportunity Zones Attracted $75 Billion in Private Capital

Article excerpt: A White House report released this week estimates that qualified opportunity funds have raised $75 billion in private capital through the end of 2019. The opportunity zone legislation was part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and provides potentially significant tax breaks to investors in order to spur investment in economically distressed communities designated as opportunity zones. There are nearly 8,800 designated opportunity zones located throughout the United States.

Number-04

 

GlobeSt.com – After a Pause, Opportunity Zones Projects Are Back on Track

Article excerpt:Opportunity zone projects are now in full swing. The opportunity zone model has been available for nearly two years, but investors were waiting the final regulations and guidance from the IRS. Then, the pandemic hit. Now that there is more understanding around both, opportunity zone projects are taking off.

Number-05

 

InvestmentNews – Labor Department’s ESG Proposal Likely to Advance Amid Overwhelming Opposition

Article excerpt: Despite overwhelming negative reaction to a proposal that could curb socially responsible investing for retirement saving, the Department of Labor is likely to stay on a fast track with the measure. A recent study by US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, along with several other organizations, shows 95% of the nearly 8,700 comment letters expressed opposition to the proposal.  The measure would place restrictions on the use of investments with environmental, social and governance criteria in defined contribution retirement plans, such as 401(k)s.