Softbank CEO and Chairman Masayoshi Son. Photo: Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

SoftBank is considering an IPO for its $100 billion Vision Fund, which would require some regulatory jujitsu to avoid U.S. regulatory prohibitions on non-accredited investors buying into alternative investment funds.

My thought bubble: I'd guess that SoftBank's lawyers can work their way around the SEC, particularly given that the current rules seem to codify a distinction without a difference.

  • Retail investors can already buy into special purpose acquisition companies, which act like concentrated buyout funds (albeit with slightly more shareholder protections). They also can invest in publicly-traded private equity firms, which are little more than a collection of opaque underlying funds.

Even if SoftBank doesn't figure this out — or simply opts against it — there are others working toward similar ends.

  • Most notable is the rowing cohort of "GP stake" funds, such as Dyal Capital and Goldman Sachs' Petershill.
  • The are funds that buy passive, minority positions in other, privately-held private equity firms. They primarily generate returns via firm cash-flows (i.e., a cut of underlying fund fees), but there isn't yet a way to fully exit.
  • One possibility is that enough of these firms will launch so that a true secondary market emerges, but there also is talk about trying to bring one of these funds public. Almost a quasi-ETF of private equity funds, like how SoftBank Vision would create a quasi-ETF of tech unicorns.

The bottom line: Private equity remains constrained by its present inability to tap retail investors and defined contribution plans. It has no interest in settling for that status quo.

Go deeper: Big-name private equity firms are asking for bigger cuts of investment profits

Go deeper

Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.