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August 15, 2017

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SEC Accuses Investment Adviser of Misrepresenting Its Algorithmic Trading Capacity

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged a North Carolina-based investment adviser and its former owner with making false statements about the firm’s ability to engage in algorithmic currency trading.  

To procure a contract to manage a $17 million mutual fund, Elliott Shifman, the former owner of Chariot Advisors LLC (Chariot), allegedly told the fund’s board at two presentations in 2008 and 2009 that Chariot had a proprietary algorithm to trade in currencies. At the time of these statements, however, Chariot did not possess such capacity, and instead relied on an individual trader who used technical analysis combined with “her own intuition.” After two months, Chariot terminated this trader for poor performance and subsequently employed a third party that did use a computer algorithm to trade currency. 

Although Shifman’s representations as to Chariot’s algorithmic trading ultimately became true, the SEC has taken a hard line with respect to false statements made during the “15(c) process.” This process refers to the section of the Investment Company Act of 1940 that requires investment advisers to provide a registered fund’s board with all information necessary to evaluate the fund’s advisory agreements.   

The Chariot investigation, which resulted in the recently filed civil administrative proceeding, is the latest development in an initiative by the SEC’s Asset Management Unit to police interactions between funds and their advisers, and suggests that the 15(c) process will continue to be one of the agency’s priorities. 

In the Matter of Chariot Advisors, LLC and Elliott L. Shifman, A.P. No. 3-15433 (Aug. 21, 2013).

©2017 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP


About this Author

Michael Rosensaft, white collar criminal litigator, Katten, New York Law Firm

Michael M. Rosensaft focuses his litigation practice on representing individuals and businesses in white collar criminal matters, regulatory enforcement matters, corporate internal investigations, insurance and health care fraud and complex civil litigation.

Prior to joining Katten, he served as an Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In that capacity, Michael oversaw the investigation and prosecution of numerous criminal cases involving terrorism, international money laundering, export violations, bribery of foreign...

Tenley Mochizuki, Katten Muchin Law Firm, Litigation Lawyer

Tenley Mochizuki concentrates her practice in litigation and dispute resolution matters.

While attending law school, Tenley participated in the Advocacy for the Elderly Clinic and worked on the Virginia Environmental Law Journal. Before joining the firm, she worked in a medical office, a primate cognition laboratory and various nonprofit organizations.