FORTUNE — Private equity firms aren’t supposed to talk publicly about fundraising. Not because it’s considered impolite, but because the Securities and Exchange Commission a longstanding rule that bans such blabbery.
Not everyone, however, seems to care.
Take Josh Harris, co-founder and senior managing director with Apollo Global Management (APO). During a keynote speech this past Tuesday at the BoA Merrill Lynch Banking and Financial Services Conference, Harris said:
It was an invite-only event, but it would be straining credibility to imagine that Harris had a personal relationship with each of the 375 attendees, and knew them each to be accredited investors (possible exemptions to the rule). Or that Apollo already has identified all prospective investors in the new fund (another exemption). And even if those requirements were fulfilled, Apollo posted audio of the speech on its public website.
But Harris is hardly alone. Here is Scott Nuttall of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) during the firm’s most recent earnings call:
Or Stephen Schwarzman, during The Blackstone Group’s (BX) Q2 2012 earnings call:
Or David Rubenstein, during The Carlyle Group’s (CG) Q3 earnings call:
How are these comments not violations of the SEC’s anti-solicitation rules? Is there some sort of exemption for publicly-traded firms? Unlikely, given that the SEC hasn’t changed its language since PE firms began listing. There were changes made as part of the JOBS Act but, to date, they remain in limbo until the SEC gets around to reading nearly 200 comments on the matter.
To be sure, I’m not arguing for some sort of censure here. The rules are absurdly antiquated and the JOBS Act changes will be welcome. But in my years covering the business, I’ve never seen so many high-profile firms seem to disregard them so blatantly.
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