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Outsourced CCO Sanctioned for Firms’ Failure to File Timely, Accurate Reports

The SEC recently instituted cease-and-desist proceedings against the CCO of two affiliated advisory firms and other parties for failing to file timely and accurate reports. According to the SEC’s settlement order, the advisory firms retained Strategic Consulting Advisors, LLC to assist them in performing certain compliance functions as well as to provide CCO services. The SEC found that the consulting firm’s principal, who was designated CCO of the advisory firms, failed to file an annual update to one firm’s Form ADV and materially overstated the assets under management and total number of client accounts for the firms. The SEC found that the CCO relied on information provided by the firm’s chief investment officer but did not take sufficient steps to ascertain the accuracy of those numbers and thus caused the report to falsely represent that the CIO attested to the accuracy of that information. The SEC concluded that the CCO both violated and caused violations of the Advisers Act. Among the sanctions levied against the CCO was a $30,000 civil penalty.