Interview with: Mark Goshko, Partner

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K&L Gates

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability?

Although I’m not primarily a transactional lawyer, my greatest sense of professional accomplishment has often come from the transactional based components of my practice because of the enhanced support clients often need to navigate what can be very complex events on compressed timelines. A few experiences that come to mind are serving as fund counsel on many closed-end fund IPOs, including the largest ever closed-end fund IPO, and the IPO of ten municipal closed-end bond funds at the same time.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

My goal has always been to serve as an integral member of my client’s legal team. I therefore always strive to provide practical advice that best assists clients in meeting their business objectives. Similarly, I try to break down complicated legal issues and analysis into a format most useful for my client whether that be into simple understandable possible terms that can be conveyed orally, or something more substantial in written form. I try to resist digressing into side issues that may be very intellectually interesting to lawyers but are of minimal importance to a client’s objectives and needs.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

There is always room for improvement, so affirmatively seek honest feedback on your work. Although this often doesn’t happen as a matter of course, it is critical to learning both how to best serve particular clients and to identify broader areas for improvement of your skills and approach to practice. Similarly, always follow-up with new contacts, always stay in touch with existing contacts and always ask clients what you can do to help and/or suggest specific things where you believe there is a need.

Can you give me a practical example of how helped a client add value to the business?

On the upside, I have added value by assisting many clients in creating innovative investment products offered in a 1940 Act registered fund format. These products often involved complicated regulatory concerns that had not previously been addressed. In this regard, I helped clients develop and bring to market some of the earlier versions of: mutual funds providing long/short and currency and commodity exposures; private tax exempt exchange funds investing in mutual funds; registered funds of hedge funds; closed-end option income funds; and continuously offered closed-end funds investing in private equity or private debt either directly or through underlying funds.

On the downside, I have routinely added value by helping clients resolve major problems that had the potential to adversely affect their business in a material fashion. One example of this was assisting clients in appropriately balancing common and preferred shareholder interests in refinancing auction rate preferred shares of closed-end funds when the auction markets froze up at the outset of the Great Financial Crisis.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

The SEC has recently adopted several major new rules and has proposed several more that fundamentally change the ways in which registered investment companies and advisers are regulated in many key areas. These are the most sweeping regulatory changes our industry has faced in decades. Moreover, the SEC inspection staff and enforcement staff are both taking an increasingly aggressive approach. Accordingly, the biggest challenge for clients in the coming year will be implementing compliance with these new rules and attempting to shape ongoing rulemaking in a manner more favorable to the industry all while remaining vigilant and prepared to manage a heightened degree of regulatory scrutiny.