(Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators found illegal collections of fees or severe compliance shortfalls in more than half of the private-equity firms it has examined since 2012, a signal the industry could face tougher oversight or sanctions.

“By far, the most common observation our examiners have made when examining private-equity firms has to do with the adviser’s collection of fees and allocation of expenses,” Drew Bowden, director of the SEC’s office of compliance inspections and examinations, said today in a speech at the Private FundCompliance Forum in New York. “We have identified what we believe are violations of law or material weaknesses in controls over 50 percent of the time.”

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