SEC Announces 2016 Exam Priorities


Jan 11, 2016, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published examination priorities for 2016.

Protecting retail investors and retirement savers will continue to be a top priority for the SEC in 2016 and in the forseeable future. Areas of special interest for the evaluation of a compliance program include practices around:

  • Exchange-Traded Funds (“ETFs”);
  • Variable Annuities recommendations;
  • Risks associated with Public Pension Advisers;
  • Fee selection and reverse churning.

In addition to protecting investors, the SEC has a duty to maintain fair and orderly markets. In 2016, OCIE will continue a focus on market-wide risks including

  • Cybersecurity;
  • liquidity risk management;
  • Compliance with the SEC's Regulation SCI.

Finally, the OCIE has emphasized in 2016 an aptitude and intention to analyze great amounts of data to identify and examine registrants that may be engaged in illegal activity. 

Firms should note that the exam priorities are meant to be an  guide for a compliance program evaluation but are not all-inclusive list and are subject to change with new focus areas being added throughout the year.