The SEC is conducting an exam sweep that focuses on retirement advice being given to clients of investment advisors and broker-dealers. Some commentators see this as a turf war between the SEC and the Department of Labor (DOL) because the sweep focuses on things that may come under the DOL’s jurisdiction.
Whether the exam sweep intrudes upon the DOL’s purview is really not the point. The real take away as I see it is the general subject matter and those clients who would be most implicated.money and calculator
This past year, the SEC and FINRA issued a joint report with their findings from an exam sweep focused on elder clients. This current SEC sweep can, at least in part, be seen as an extension of that work; elder clients may be the ones most impacted by retirement account advice.
So what does this mean for you? If your firm is not razor focused on what it is doing with elder clients and retirement accounts, you may be in for a rude awakening during your next regulatory exam.
As the year ends, dust off your WSPs and take a hard look at it for elder and retirement account issues. Are you addressing prior findings of the SEC and FINRA that they have made available in various reports? Has anything changed this year with the way you are running your business that may warrant a different approach? Do you need to do things differently because of changes to your business model?
Ask these questions internally now and maybe you can avoid answering the same to your regulator. You may not like the response you get from the regulator.