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OCIE Announces 2020 Examination Priorities

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations recently announced its 2020 examination priorities. “As markets evolve, so do risks and potential harm to investors. OCIE continually works to adjust its examination focus areas to target these risks and publishes its annual priorities to communicate where we see the potential for increased risk and related harm,” said OCIE Director Pete Driscoll. Among OCIE’s 2020 examination priorities are: 

  • Retail Investors – Examinations in these areas will include reviews of disclosures relating to fees, expenses, and conflicts of interest.
  • Information Security – OCIE will continue to prioritize cyber and other information security risks across the entire examination program.
  • Advisers, Mutual Funds, Broker-Dealers – Examinations of registered investment advisers (RIAs) will focus on RIAs that have never been examined, including new RIAs and RIAs registered for several years that have yet to be examined. These examinations will include RIAs advising retail investors as well as private funds.  Investment company examinations will focus on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, the activities of their RIAs, and the oversight practices of their boards of directors. Broker-dealer examinations will focus on issues relating to the preparation for and implementation of recent rulemaking, along with trading practices.
  • Fintech and Innovation, Including Digital Assets and Electronic Investment Advice – OCIE also will continue to identify and examine SEC-registered firms engaged in the digital asset space, as well as RIAs that provide services to clients through automated investment tools and platforms, often referred to as “robo-advisers.”

The published priorities for FY 2020 are not exhaustive and will not be the only areas OCIE focuses on in its examinations, risk alerts, and investor and industry outreach. Other compliance concerns that CCOs and adviser staff may prioritize in 2020 include the implementation of Reg BI and various state conflicts of interest laws as well as the new SECURE Act, as reported by ThinkAdvisor.

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