SEC Charges Hedge Fund Adviser With Participating In Conflicted Principal Transaction

The SEC has charged the adviser to a New York-based hedge fund with breaching his fiduciary duty by engineering an undisclosed principal transaction in which he had a financial conflict of interest.

The SEC alleges that Shadron L. Stastney, a partner at investment advisory firm Vicis Capital LLC, traded as a principal when he authorized the client hedge fund to pay approximately $7.5 million to purchase a basket of illiquid securities from a personal friend and outside business partner hired by the firm as a managing director.  Stastney required his friend to divest these personal securities holdings as he came on board at the firm because they overlapped with securities in which the hedge fund also was invested.  Stastney failed to tell the client hedge fund or any other partners and management at the firm that he had a financial stake in some of the same securities sold into the fund.  Stastney personally benefited and received a portion of the proceeds from the sale, and therefore was trading as a principal in the transaction.

Stastney agreed to pay more than $2.9 million to settle the SEC’s charges.