SEC Lifts Ban on Hedge Fund Ads

Will be allowed to advertise for first time in decades


Hedge funds and other firms that seek private investments will be allowed to advertise publicly for the first time in decades under a rule adopted Wednesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Adopted by a 4-1 vote, the rule eliminates an 80-year regime of advertising restrictions intended to safeguard small investors from taking on potentially dangerous risk. The rule covers the way issuers raise funds through private offerings, a process that is exempt from requirements to report public financial statements.

While the rule would authorize firms to raise unlimited amounts via mass advertising of private offerings, it would require reasonable steps to ensure that buyers are so-called accredited investors — who are wealthier and deemed better able to gauge investment risks.