Robert W. Helm

robert-helm

Robert W. Helm

Partner

Washington, D.C. | 1900 K Street, NW, Washington, DC, United States of America 20006-1110
+1 202 261 3356 | +1 202 261 3333

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Robert W. Helm, a leader of Dechert’s financial services practice group, represents some of the world’s leading investment management firms, investment funds and their boards of directors.

 Mr. Helm has consistently been recognized as one of the leading practitioners in his field by publications such as The Legal 500 (US), which recently noted that he is “a true business consigliere,” US News and World Report’s "Best Lawyers in America," and Practical Law Company’s Investment Funds Handbook. In 2017, he was named to the Legal 500’s inaugural “Hall of Fame” in recognition of his consistently high reviews from both clients and peers. He has been listed as a leading lawyer for registered funds by Chambers USA since the publication’s inception. In its most recent edition, Chambers noted that he “is widely recognized as a best-in-class practitioner acting for major fund managers. Sources comment that ‘he has excellent judgment; he really understands the industry,’ highlighting his ‘absolutely pragmatic, business-friendly advice.’” A previous edition stated that he is "an outstanding lawyer and a top-tier expert in representing registered funds and their boards of directors.” Clients have described Mr. Helm as “a lawyer’s lawyer,” “one of the very best” and “among a small handful of elite lawyers who can be called ‘go-to’ in this industry sector.” He also has been cited for being “an industry leader who contributes to judicial and industry regulatory initiatives” and for his “superb combination of knowledge and practicality.”
 
Mr. Helm’s clients include registered investment companies, private funds, European registered funds (UCITS), and traditional and alternative investment funds organized in other jurisdictions offered on a public and private basis. He also counsels clients on regulatory compliance, litigation, and enforcement matters. He contributes to industry regulatory and judicial initiatives. He represented the Mutual Fund Directors Forum filing as amicus curiae in the seminal Jones v. Harris Assocs. L.P., 559 U.S. 335 (2010) case and in Investment Company Institute, et al., v. United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 891 F.Supp. 2d 162 (D.D.C. 2012), aff’d. 720 F.3d 370 (D.C. Cir. 2013).

Mr. Helm is a frequent conference speaker and author of numerous articles on U.S. and international investment management. He co-chaired the Practising Law Institute’s program on “The Revolution in Mutual Fund Governance.” He is a member and former chair of the Investment Funds Committee of the International Bar Association and member and past chair of the organizing committee of the IBA/NICSA conference on the Globalisation of Investment Funds. He was a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Mutual Fund Directors Forum and is a member of the Independent Counsel Advisory Board of the Independent Directors Council. He serves on the editorial board of The Investment Lawyer.

Mr. Helm’s not-for-profit activities include membership in the Life Guard Society of Mt. Vernon, and on the boards of the SEC Historical Society, the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs, and the Washington, DC Area Council of the American Enterprise Institute.

Education
  • Stanford University, A.B., 1979, with Distinction
  • Stanford Law School, J.D., 1982, Fulbright-Hays Direct Exchange Fellow to Italy (1982-83) and Attaché de Recherche, European University Institute, 1982-84
Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • New York
Speaking Engagements
  • Recent SEC Division of Investment Management Initiatives and Fund Directors — Mutual Fund Directors Forum Policy Conference, Washington, D.C. (March 29-30, 2016)

    Moderator, “Recent SEC Division of Investment Management Initiatives and Fund Directors” panel. The Mutual Fund Directors Forum’s annual Policy Conference brings together directors, industry experts and regulators to discuss the responsibilities of fund directors and how they will continue to evolve both as a result of market forces and major regulatory developments.
  • Strengthening Fund Governance — International Bar Association's Conference on the Globalisation of Investment Funds, Paris (June 9, 2014)

    Moderator, panel on Strengthening Fund Governance. Topics include: Independent directors vs independent depositaries; Directors’ liability and insurance position; How to ensure appropriate expertise; Effective supervision of appointed fund managers and administrators; and Letterbox risk.
  • What the SEC has Learned from Boards — Mutual Fund Directors Forum Policy Conference, Washington, D.C. (April 2, 2014)

    Moderator, panel on What the SEC has Learned from Boards. The Forum’s annual Policy Conference, held in Washington DC on April 2-3, 2014, brings independent directors together with legislators, regulators, and other industry experts to discuss issues of critical concern to fund directors.
  • Current Topics in Valuation — Mutual Fund Directors Forum Policy Conference, Washington, DC (April 10-11, 2013)

    Moderater, panel on Current Topics in Valuation. The Forum’s annual Policy Conference brings independent directors together with legislators, regulators, and other industry experts to discuss issues of critical concern to fund directors.
  • The Role of the Board in Portfolio Valuation: Lessons for Fund Directors from Recent SEC Enforcement Actions — Conference of Fund Leaders Roundtable (Mutual Fund Directors Forum), New York, NY (February 19, 2013)

    Facilitator, interactive conversation about the issues raised in the SEC’s order.
  • Valuation Issues for Fund Boards — Independent Directors Council's Annual Independent Counsel Roundtable, Washington, D.C. (July 11, 2012)
  • Board Oversight of Transfer Agent Fees — Mutual Fund Directors Forum Policy Conference, Washington, D.C. (April 28, 2011)
  • Dodd-Frank Financial Reform and Its Impact on the Securities Industry — ALI-ABA Conference, Washington, D.C. (October 8, 2010)
  • Regulatory Convergence of Asset Classes - Europe, the US and Globally — International Bar Association Conference, Vancouver, Canada (October 4, 2010)
  • Mutual Funds Under Fire — Mutual Funds Directors Forum, Washington D.C. (April 15, 2010)
  • Management Presentation of Expense Information — Mutual Fund Directors Forum - Director's Institute, Coral Gables, FL (January 26, 2010)
  • Management Presentation of Performance Information — Mutual Fund Directors Forum - Directors Institute, Coral Gables, FL (January 26, 2010)
  • Board/Management Relations — Mutual Funds Directors Forum Annual Policy Conference, Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2009)
  • Financial Services Reform: Implications for the Fund Industry — Independent Directors Council - Director's Workshop, Boston, MA  (April 17, 2009)
  • Up Next: An Introduction to European Regulated Investment Funds: UCITS — Dechert LLP, Webinar (December 4, 2008)
  • Opening Remarks — Conference on the Globalisation of Investment Funds, Bermuda (June 2, 2008)
  • Convergence and Divergence of Fund Regulation Around the Globe: What It Means for U.S. Funds and Money Managers — ICI Mutual Funds and Investment Management Annual Conference, Phoenix, AZ (March 1, 2008)
  • Portfolio Management and Distribution Issues —  Investment Company Institute's Independent Counsel Roundtable, Washington, D.C. (July 11, 2007)
  • Opening Remarks — IBA/NICSA Globalisation of Investment Funds Conference, Bermuda (May 1, 2007)
  • The Regulatory Outlook for 2006 — Investment Company Institute's Annual Securities Law Development Conference, Washington, D.C. (December 1, 2005)
  • Conflicts of Interest in the Investment Funds Industry — International Bar Association's Annual Prague Conference, Prague, Czech Republic (September 1, 2005)
  • Economies of Scale in the U.S. Fund Industry — The ICI/IBA Globalisation of Mutual Funds Conference, Bermuda (May 1, 2005)
  • The SEC's Current Agenda as it Relates to Fixed Income Managers — Fixed Income Forum, (March 1, 2005)
  • Current Issues Affecting Mutual Funds — Practising Law Institute's Nuts & Bolts of Financial Products 2005, (February 1, 2005)
  • The Revolution in Investment Company Governance — Practising Law Institute, (September 1, 2004)
  • The Fund-Fee Debate: Should Fees Be Reduced or Standardized? How Will this Impact Competition? — Institutional Investor Mutual Fund Compliance Forum, (May 1, 2004)
  • New Disclosure and Regulatory Requirements: Payments to Brokerage Firms, Soft Commissions and Disclosure of Share Sales Expenses — FEFSI/Dechert LLP Joint Program: How Will Regulatory Developments Impact the European Fund Industry?, Brussels (April 27, 2004)
  • Overview of the Responsibilities of Fund Independent Directors - What Does It Mean to Be a Watchdog? — ICI New Directors Workshop (April 1, 2004)
  • Mutual Funds — Practising Law Institute's Nuts & Bolts of Financial Products 2004: Understanding the Evolving World of Capital Market and Investment Management (February 1, 2004)
  • Off-Shore Investment Funds  — Practising Law Institute's Nuts & Bolts of Financial Products 2004: Understanding the Evolving World of Capital Market and Investment Management, (February 1, 2004)
  • Directors' Responsibilities: 1940 to Sarbanes Oxley — Mutual Fund Directors Forum - Baruch School of Business, (September 1, 2003)
  • Hedge Funds for Retail Investors — Annual Meeting of the International Bar Association, (September 1, 2003)
  • The Changing Role of Mutual Fund Directors — Mutual Fund Directors Form - Baruch School of Business, (September 1, 2003)
  • Investment Manager Error and Non-Performance from a U.S. Perspective — Round Table Discussion at Committee I of the International Bar Association's Annual Congress, (October 1, 2002)
  • Going Abroad: U.S. Managers and the International Marketplace — Suffolk University Law School's Advanced Legal Studies Seminar, (April 1, 2002)
  • Offshore Investment Funds — Practising Law Institute's Nuts & Bolts of Financial Products, (February 1, 2002)
  • Legal Issues for the Multi-National Investment Management Firm — ALI-ABA Program on Investment Management Regulation (January 1, 2002)