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Category Archives: Investment Adviser Regulation

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INDIVIDUAL MAY ACT AS SOLICITOR DESPITE SEC ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, No-Action Relief, SEC Enforcement

The SEC Division of Investment Management determined that a solictor may receive a fee for the soliciation of clients for registered investment advisers notwithstanding a Commission administrative order against her.  See Matter of Stephanie Hibler, https://www.sec.gov/litigation/opinions/2013/34-70140.pdf. In deciding to allow the solicitor to receive cash solicitation fees, the SEC staff noted in its response letter… Continue Reading

What are Knowledgeable Employees?

Posted in Hedge and Private Equity Funds, Investment Adviser Regulation, Open-Ended Mutual Funds

The SEC’s Division of Investment Management issued updated guidance regarding the definition of “knowledgeable employees” under Rule 3c-5 of the Investment Company Act of 1940.  See Managed Funds Ass’n, SEC No-Action Letter, avail. 2/6/14, https://www.managedfunds.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Staff-Response-to-MFA-3c-5-Letter-Final-Outgoing-2-6-14-no-sigs.pdf The SEC staff explained that “private funds” include private equity funds, hedge funds, and other pooled investment vehicles, excluded from… Continue Reading

Cash Solicitations Allowed Despite Court Bar

Posted in Hedge and Private Equity Funds, Investment Adviser Regulation

The SEC’s Division of Investment Management said it will not object if an investment adviser pays a cash fee for the solicitation of advisory clients, although a federal district court injunctive order precluded it.  RBS Sec. Inc., SEC No-Action Letter, avail. 11/26/13, http://www.sec.gov/divisions/investment/noaction/2013/rbssecurities-11252013-section 206.htm. In granting relief, the staff noted especially that the firm otherwise… Continue Reading

IM Division Has “Enhanced” Exam Unit

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, Investment Company Regulation, SEC Compliance

The SEC’s Division of Investment Management is working on two ways to make its Risk and Examinations Office effective. http://www.sec.gov/News/Speech/Detail/Speech/1370540048684#.Uml5uBAWkoo. According to the SEC’s website, REO was established in October 2012 to implement Section 965 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  The provision requires IM to have a staff of examiners… Continue Reading

SEC OCIE Exam Priorities Include Dual Registrants, Technology Use, JOBS Act

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Compliance and Supervision, Investment Adviser Regulation, JOBS Act

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations’ exam priorities include issues arising from the continuing convergence of the broker-dealer and investment adviser professions. Other OCIE priorities include registrants’ use of technology; applying its “presence exams” to investment advisers who have never been examined; and reviewing the JOBS Act.  Presence exams are risk-based reviews of… Continue Reading

SEC “Presence” Exam Ahead of Schedule

Posted in Hedge and Private Equity Funds, Investment Adviser Regulation

The SEC’s push to conduct narrowly focused examinations of newly registered investment advisers is ahead of schedule and providing it with insights about compliance weaknesses, hedge fund advisers, and private equity companies. To date, the SEC has completed 210 presence exams while 42 are currently open.  Exam teams are focused on compliance associated with marketing… Continue Reading

RIAs Permitted to More Freely Advertise on Social Media

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Compliance

The SEC’s Division of Investment Management  issued guidance permitting advisers  greater use of social media while maintaining the  prohibition on testimonials.   See http://www.sec.gov/investment/im-guidance-2014-04.pdf. IM indicated that advisers could link public commentary from a third social media party site, and it would not violate the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 so long as the adviser had no ability to… Continue Reading

SEC Announces Exam Priorities

Posted in Books and Records, Broker-Dealer Regulation, Compliance and Supervision, Hedge and Private Equity Funds, Investment Adviser Regulation, Investment Company Regulation, SEC Compliance, SEC Enforcement

Tis the season for the regulators to announce their examination priorities.  No less than the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations released its 2014 Examination Priorities for its National Examination Program (“NEP”). In particular, the SEC identified several new issues for registered investment advisers, primarily for those RIAs, who are at least three years old and have never… Continue Reading

What To Expect In 2014 From The SEC’s Enforcement Division

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Hedge and Private Equity Funds, Insider Trading, Internal Investigations, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Compliance, SEC Enforcement, SEC Organization, SEC Structure, Whistleblowers

Now that 2014 is here, it is a good idea to understand what the Enforcement Division might focus on this year.  In a recent article that appeared in the BNA, David Marder, a partner with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi identified fifteen things to expect in the coming year.  The fifteen things he noted to… Continue Reading

THE SEC DEFEATS INFLATION SORT OF… PENALTIES ADJUSTED

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Investment Adviser Regulation, Investment Company Regulation, Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC Enforcement

The SEC adopted a rule to adjust the maximum amounts it may recover for civil monetary penalties imposed under the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 for inflation.  The SEC’s new rule-was effective upon publication, and also adjusts… Continue Reading

SEC EXAMS MAY NOT BE AS BAD FOR REGISTERED ENTITIES

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Compliance

Despite registrants’ concerns about the increasingly close cooperation between the SEC’s examination and enforcement arms, only about 10 % of SEC exams over the last two years were referred for enforcement. In deciding to refer a case to the Enforcement Division, OCIE considers questions such as: Is there an ongoing fraud? Is there egregious harm… Continue Reading

No-Action Relief For Delivery of Subadvisers’ Form ADV

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation

The Staff of the Division of Investment Management agreed to not recommend enforcement action under Investment Advisers Act of 1940 Rule 204-3 against unaffiliated registered investment advisers, who manage client assets if the subadviser delivers its Form ADV Part 2, to the adviser, rather than the client.  See Goldman Sachs & Co., Inc., SEC No-Action Letter,… Continue Reading

RIAS NEED TO FOCUS ON FORM ADV AND ADVERTISING REVENUE

Posted in Dodd-Frank, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Compliance

The SEC Division of Investment Management, is reviewing the applications of private fund advisers, and focusing on two particular areas: advertising and the Form ADV. The Division’s review will be “informed” by the questions and concerns raised by private fund advisers regarding the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 application to their practices and business models…. Continue Reading

FALSE AUM CLAIMS RESULT IN BAR

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

A registered investment adviser was terminated and its principal barred because it failed to keep proper records.  This failure lead to a charge of false registration and Form ADV claims as well as overcharging clients.  See http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/2013/34-69601.pdf. The RIA misstated its AUM by nearly $30 million so that it could continue as a SEC-registered adviser. … Continue Reading

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST MAJOR ISSUE FOR RIAS AND SEC

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

  While the overwhelming majority of registered investment advisers are operating in the best interest of their clients in a very complex business, others do not, according to the SEC.   These bad actors usually are either liars, cheaters, reckless or involved in conflicts of interest.  The former usually face the wrath of regulators sooner… Continue Reading

So You Don’t Think You Need A Business Continuity Plan; Here Are 15 Considerations Why You Should Have One

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Compliance and Supervision, Financial Industry Trends, Investment Adviser Regulation, Registered Representatives, SEC Compliance

Now that summer is in its waning days, the hurricaine season is about to take off.  Hurricaine Sandy had a devastating impact on the financial markets, closing the equity markets for two days and some firms for at least a week.  The SEC, CFTC and FINRA recently provided financial firms a framework to improve their… Continue Reading

Do You Want To Know What Keeps The Regulator Up At Night

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Compliance and Supervision, Financial Industry Trends, FINRA Compliance, FINRA Enforcement, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Compliance, SEC Enforcement, Social Media

At a regulator’s round table during a recent National Society of Compliance Professionals meeting, the regulators framed out those issues that are keeping them up at night.  The issues include: The increasing complexity of investment products. Social media beyond things like Twitter or LinkedIn. Cyber security. Cyber fraud; i.e. hacking into customer accounts. AML issues… Continue Reading

What Investment Advisers Need To Know About The SEC

Posted in Compliance and Supervision, Financial Industry Trends, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Compliance

The SEC recently announced that its top priority is to increase the number of investment adviser examinations it conducts on an annual basis.  Considering that the SEC only examined 8% of all investment advisers in 2012 (where 40% have never been examined), the SEC could only increase the number of such examinations. The talk, for… Continue Reading

What You Need To Know About Identity Theft

Posted in Compliance and Supervision, Cyber-Security, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Compliance

Hardly a day goes by without hearing horrible stories of a person having their identity stolen and their finances ruined as a result.  The SEC is now stepping into this hornet’s nest by adopting new rules for financial advisors who have the authority to move client funds to third parties.  The new rules require firms… Continue Reading

You Should be Concerned With Expanding BrokerCheck

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Compliance and Supervision, FINRA Compliance, Investment Adviser Regulation, Public Customer Arbitrations, Registered Representatives

FINRA announced that it is seeking proposed rule changes to make it easier for investors to use BrokerCheck.  See http://www.finra.org/Investors/ToolsCalculators/BrokerCheck/. These proposed amendments to FINRA Rule 2267, Investor Education and Protection, would require member firms to include a BrokerCheck reference on their websites and those of any associated person.  Additionally, FINRA Rule 8312, BrokerCheck Disclosure,… Continue Reading

One Thing An RIA Need Not Worry About.

Posted in Dodd-Frank, Financial Industry Trends, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Compliance, SEC Enforcement

Ever since Dodd-Frank, there has been much concern in the RIA world regarding who would be its regulator.  At this point, RIAs can dispense with any concern that FINRA will be its regulator because FINRA pulled its hat out of the oversight ring, at least for now. Even thought FINRA spent nearly $2 million lobbying Congress… Continue Reading

BDs Remember to File Marketing Material

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Closed-End Mutual Funds, FINRA Compliance, Investment Adviser Regulation, Investment Company Regulation, Open-Ended Mutual Funds

FINRA has published guidance on its new marketing Rule 2210.  See http://www.finra.org/Industry/Issues/Advertising/P197604   FINRA has indicated that retail communications that will now be subject to this filing requirement has to be filed by February 19, 2013.  FINRA suggested that retail communications relating closed-end funds and structured products must be filed.  FINRA wants, among other things, filed certain presentation… Continue Reading