A hedge fund manager and/or any person acting on its behalf may not solicit an investment into a hedge fund through any type of “general solicitation” or general advertisement” under Section (c) of Regulation D.
Therefore hedge fund managers rely upon hedge fund advisory services to handle capital introduction services and the distribute hedge funds directly to qualified clients. The methods vary by which this information can be disseminated. Traditionally, networking used to be the preferred means of doing business. Hedge funds would rely upon the established relationships between advisory services and their high-net worth clientele. But, with the growth of the Internet, electronic communication has transformed the hedge fund industry to where online databases, hedge fund consultants, and advisory services are a fingertip away.
Internet websites have to be careful with respect to general solicitations and advertising, and thus must limit the content of the website in addition to the people who have access to the site. Hedge fund advisers using the Internet to market hedge funds are subject to the same registration exemptions as they would be in engaging in private offerings. If advisers and hedge funds do not adhere to the SEC guidance on the use of the Internet in private offerings, they will not be able to rely upon the exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities and Investment Acts.
Operating a website must take into account these necessary rules:
- The site operates using a password.
- There is no reference on the home page to a specific fund.
- The internal pages of the website are available to only qualified clients who filled out a questionnaire establishing that fact.
- Prospective investors are required to wait thirty days after qualification before investing in any fund.
The genesis of these rules comes from several no-action letters, most notably Lamp Technologies, Inc.