Former SEC Corporate Filing Chief Hinman Joins &vest as Partner

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Bill Hinman, who led the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission unit that reviews company filings until late last year, has joined investment platform &vest as a partner and senior policy adviser.

At &vest -- which has raised three special purpose acquisition companies -- Hinman, 65, will focus on capital markets as well as legal, regulatory and compliance matters, he said in an interview on Monday. “There are growing pains associated with becoming a public company including understanding disclosure requirements and how to deal with the SEC,” said Hinman, who is based in Washington, D.C.

His addition will help &vest navigate anticipated regulatory changes amid heightened SEC scrutiny of blank-check firms sparked in part by certain SPAC teams’ pursuit of private companies that aren’t ready to be public, said &vest co-founder Doug Jacob. The firm was introduced to Hinman through Lucas Moskowitz, a former SEC staffer whose brother Cliff Moskowitz is a director of one of &vest’s SPACs.

“The SEC is rightfully focusing on growth projections used by SPACs and should encourage deeper disclosure,” Hinman said. “Any light that the SEC can help shine on the SPAC model” is welcome. “Transparency is good for everyone and it’s what investors deserve,” he said.

Hinman said he’s confident SPACs will remain popular over the long term. He predicted success will land on teams that aren’t purely a source of capital, but that have operating experience and can add value to target companies.

Founded in 2019, &vest describes itself as a consumer-brand investment and incubation platform. Two of its SPACs, Fast Acquisition Corp. II and Velocity Acquisition Corp., are seeking merger targets. The firm’s first blank-check vehicle, Fast Acquisition Corp., agreed to take billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s restaurant and casino empire public. Its SPACs are focused on targets that are generating revenue and have a clear path to profitability, Jacob said.

Hinman in January returned to law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett as a senior adviser, and will retain the role. He was previously a partner at the firm and advised on the IPOs of companies including Square Inc., Facebook Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and EBay Inc.

Hinman was director of the SEC’s division of corporation finance from 2017 to 2020, helping to oversee the rise of blank-check firms, confidential filings and another alternative to traditional initial public offerings: direct listings.

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