Blackstone Said to Hire Former SEC Official After First Penalty

  • Ex-enforcement lawyer Sprung to be global head of compliance
  • October SEC penalty said Blackstone didn't disclose fund fees

Blackstone Group LP is hiring a former top enforcement attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, months after the world’s biggest alternative-asset manager agreed to its first SEC penalty, two people with knowledge of the move said.

Marshall Sprung will be a managing director and global head of compliance at New York-based Blackstone, said the people, who asked not to be named because the hire hasn’t been announced. He worked as co-head of the asset management unit within the enforcement division of the SEC, which announced his departure last month.

Sprung will work with John Finley, Blackstone’s chief legal officer, who joined in 2010 from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

Sprung declined to comment, as did Paula Chirhart, a spokeswoman for Blackstone.

The Wall Street regulator had limited oversight over the private equity industry until the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act gave it greater authority. Since then, the SEC has probed the private equity industry -- which is typically only open to institutions and wealthy investors -- on how fund managers divvy up expenses and disclose the details to investors.

Blackstone in October agreed to pay almost $39 million to settle claims that it failed to fully inform investors about fees and business discounts that benefited the firm.

Peter Koffler, Blackstone’s first chief compliance officer, will become full-time general counsel for Blackstone Alternative Asset Management, the firm’s $68.5 billion hedge fund business, one of the people said.

Enforcement Unit

Sprung spent more than a decade at the SEC, most recently co-running the enforcement specialized unit that probes violations by investment advisers and private funds.

His group brought a case against KKR & Co. in 2015, alleging that the private equity firm allowed some investors, including the firm’s executives, to sidestep costs tied to unsuccessful deals. KKR agreed to pay almost $30 million to settle the allegations.

Sprung’s former colleague at the SEC, Bruce Karpati, joined KKR in 2014 as global chief compliance officer.

Blackstone is the largest manager of alternative assets such as private equity holdings, real estate, credit assets and hedge funds. Led by Steve Schwarzman, the firm managed $344 billion as of March 31.

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