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Transferring assets within an SPV: A closer look

Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Written by Venture360 - Account Management Team
All Things SPV
Transferring assets within an SPV: A closer look

Investing in private companies carries inherent risks, with one of the most significant being the limited liquidity of such investments. Investors often find themselves locked into a financial commitment for an extended period, sometimes a decade or more, without the ability to realize any returns. Fortunately, there are strategies available to investors seeking flexibility in managing their investments, including the use of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) that comply with federal securities regulations. This article will delve into the mechanics, common scenarios, and potential challenges associated with transferring assets within the context of SPVs.

Asset transfers, as discussed here, specifically pertain to the movement of investors or managers in and out of SPVs that legally hold purchased assets. These transfers can be either voluntary or mandatory, and they play a crucial role in optimizing investment strategies.

Deal coordination and transfer types:

The most common asset transfers occur when an investor decides to transfer their membership interest within an SPV to another investor, who may be an existing or new member of the SPV. These transfers can be voluntary or, in some cases, involuntary. Involuntary transfers may arise due to various reasons, such as an investor's passing or the need to split ownership through a court order. Voluntary transfers, on the other hand, are initiated at the discretion of the investor. Each transfer type comes with distinct contractual and regulatory requirements. For instance, transferring membership interest to an external third party, even without a profit motive, can be a complex process. In such cases, a purchase agreement must be introduced, with both buyer and seller providing appropriate representations and warranties. Additionally, new investors must certify their compliance with asset exemptions and undergo Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures.

On the opposite end of the transfer spectrum, we have cases where investors are transferring to themselves or entities where they are the sole beneficiaries. In such instances, where no new investors are involved, the transfer process is relatively straightforward. However, when an individual transfers to an LLC with multiple members, all LLC members must certify compliance with applicable exemptions or regulations.

Transferring interests within an SPV can provide much-needed liquidity in a traditionally illiquid market. However, it also comes with potential pitfalls. It's advisable to seek the counsel of experienced professionals when navigating these complex transactions to maximize the benefits while mitigating risks.