In a recent Risk Alert by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), the Examination Division identified several common issues among newly registered investment advisers (also referred as RIAs): (1) compliance policies and procedures; (2) disclosures and filings; and (3) marketing. Although these findings are based upon examinations of federally registered investment advisers, it’s our experience that newly state registered firms have similar issues.
July 26, 2021
SEC Risk Alert on Use of Wrap Fee Accounts by Investment Advisers
On July 21, 2021, the Division of Examinations (the “Division”) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) released a Risk Alert about its assessment of investment adviser firms associated with wrap fee programs. The SEC identified multiple areas where the investment advisers examined were deficient in their policies, procedures, and practices related to wrap fee programs, and further noted a range of industry practices that investment advisers might consider adopting to meet their fiduciary duty when recommending and managing wrap fee programs.
February 27, 2021
SEC Risk Alert
On December 16 2020, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) released a Risk Alert about its assessment of the compliance practices of SEC-registered investment advisers and broker dealers with regard to Rule 13h-1, which was adopted to help the SEC identify and obtain information on certain market participants (referred to as “Large Traders”) that conduct a substantial amount of trading activity as measured by volume or market value, in national market system (“NMS”) securities. In the Risk Alert, OCIE noted that some advisers and broker dealers it examined were unaware of the rule or its specific requirements and, consequently, is encouraging all SEC-registered investment advisers and broker-dealers to review and update their compliance policies and procedures, as needed, to ensure compliance with Rule 13h-1. Click here to read the SEC’s Risk Alert for Large Trader Obligations.
While completing the annual review of its compliance program, an investment adviser should update its self-identification of the risks facing the firm.
November 23, 2020
On November 9 2020, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) released a Risk Alert about its assessment of the compliance practices of SEC-registered investment advisers that have multiple branch offices. In its Risk Alert, the SEC noted that its Multi-Branch Initiative (“Initiative”) focused on investment advisers practices relating to compliance programs and supervision, with a particular focus on the Code of Ethics Rule, Custody Rule, and fiduciary obligations relating to fees, expenses, and advertising. The SEC also evaluated how supervised persons at branch locations provided investment advice, focusing on oversight of investment recommendations, management and disclosure of conflicts of interest, and allocation of investment opportunities.
On July 23, 2019 the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examination’s (“OCIE”) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) released a Risk Alert about its assessment of the oversight practices of SEC-registered investment advisers who employ or employed individuals with disciplinary histories. Of the over 50 advisers that were examined, nearly all of the examined advisers received deficiency letters. The OCIE exams did not focus solely on supervisory practices as they relate to the individuals with prior disciplinary histories. Instead, OCIE reviewed the advisers’ supervisory practices firm-wide. OCIE’s findings relate to all investment advisers regardless of whether they have someone with a disciplinary history. The deficiencies identified related to compliance and disclosure issues, including undisclosed conflicts of interest.
SEC Risk Alert – Compliance Issues Related to Regulation S-P – Privacy Notices and Safeguard Policies
May 07, 2019
On April 16, 2019, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a risk alert about “Compliance Issues Related to Regulation S-P – Privacy Notices and Safeguard Policies” to encourage investment adviser firms to review their written policies and procedures to, “ensure compliance with the relevant regulatory requirements.”
December 19, 2018
December 17, 2018 the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) released a new National Exam Program Risk Alert Relating to Electronic Messaging. The purpose of the risk alert is to remind SEC registered investment advisers of their obligations when their supervised persons use electronic messaging and to help SEC registered investment advisers improve their systems, policies, and procedures by sharing the SEC staff’s observations from its investment adviser examinations.
On April 12, 2018, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) released a Risk Alert, “Overview of the Most Frequent Advisory Fee and Expense Compliance Issues Identified in Examinations of Investment Advisers.” The risk alert provides a list of compliance issues frequently identified in OCIE examination deficiency letters relating to fees and expenses charged by SEC registered investment advisers. Click here to read the SEC’s Risk Alert.