If the SEC is redirecting some of its focus back on the private fund space, consider that it might not be immediately apparent. The SEC can take some obvious steps, like enforcement actions and rule adoptions. And the staff can issue more risk alerts and interpretive letters, make speeches, or initiate compliance examination sweeps.

The SEC also can engage in less formal and more subtle outreach initiatives throughout the industry. Who might the SEC staff meet? First, there are legal and compliance professionals. That’s important, but it’s also preaching to the choir. So the impact is limited. On the other end of the scale, there are the Founders/PMs. As a group, however, they aren’t always easy to reach. In between, there are the investors/allocators (the ones who write the checks, often with the oversight of a board). And there are other important intermediaries such as consultants, as well as investment and operational due diligence teams.

So the SEC staff could take a number of routes to get the message out, including some that are not so obvious.