The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has released its 2017 examinations letter. We at MCO have summarized the top areas of priority.
MCO hosted a live Webinar with NorthPoint Compliance on January 26. This included tips for registered investment advisers regarding compliance policies and how to conduct reviews and tests to assist you in the areas the SEC will be scrutinizing the most. You can watch live recordings from that webinar here: "2017 SEC Examination Priorities: Best Practices to Ace the Exam"
1) Retail investors
In 2017, the regulator will continue to review risks to retail investors. This initiative will include a focus on electronic investment advice from robo-advisers, wrap fee programs, ETFs and never-before examined investment advisors.
2) Retirement advice
The priorities call for dedicating more attention to issues facing senior investors and those investing for retirement. Areas of focus for exams are likely to include sales of variable insurance and target date funds. The SEC will also continue its focus of public pension funds.
3) Market-wide risks
Most notably, in 2017 the OCIE will devote more resources to its oversight of FINRA. This oversight will include reviewing the quality of broker-dealer exams. Additional areas to be examined for trends and risks across many firms include money market funds, payment for order flow, clearing agencies, SCI, cybersecurity, national securities exchanges, and AML.
Watch out for
Other areas of focus for 2017 include private fund advisers, municipal advisors and transfer agents.
“Whether it is protecting our most vulnerable senior investors or those investing in the trillion dollar money market fund industry, OCIE continues its efficient and effective risk-based approach to ensure compliance with our nation’s securities laws.” SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a statement.
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You can read the full letter release on the SEC's website here.