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The weekly news source for investment management legal and compliance professionals

Topic: Compliance Programs and CCOs

Monitor Disclosures – Even When They Come from the Top

April 12, 2019  Chief compliance officers should make every effort to review disclosures from their firms to the SEC, investors and others, even if those disclosures already have the blessing of top management. Failure to do so may leave the door open to potential fraud.
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SEC Alleges Adviser Ignored Compliance Responsibilities, Falsely Identified CCOs

March 15, 2019  Compliance and chief compliance officers are not just for show. Advisers that name CCOs but then fail to give them responsibility for administering their firm’s written compliance policies and procedures may be called out by the agency for doing just that – as one advisory firm found out.
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OCIE Exam Priorities List is a Tool, Not a Compliance Blueprint

February 8, 2019  New chief compliance officers at small firms, as well as compliance professionals of all sizes of firms, should avoid the trap of regarding the SEC’s annual examination priority list as a template for their own compliance programs. The priority list, published by the agency’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), is a valuable tool for compliance efforts, but those efforts need to address topics in addition to those highlighted in the list.
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Monitoring vs. Privacy: Best Practices to Stay in Compliance with a Shifting Line

February 8, 2019  It’s no secret that advisory firms need to monitor employee communications as part of their firms’ compliance efforts. It’s also no secret that advisers must make every effort to protect employees’ personally identifiable information (PII). How can advisers meet one priority without violating the other?
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GIPS: Adviser Association Urges Changes in Draft 2020 Standards

January 18, 2019  The Investment Adviser Association is concerned that the scope and breadth of the proposed 2020 Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) may make compliance with GIPS more difficult. It urged the CFA Institute in a recent comment letter to address this and other issues, including that the proposed standards take into account local regulation and the voluntary nature of GIPS.
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2018 in Review: Standards of Care, Cryptocurrencies, SEC Changes and More

December 21, 2018  With the past year almost over and a new one about to begin, it’s time to take a look back and take stock of what was accomplished in 2018 and what issues remain. The past 12 months found major developments involving standards of care for advisers and broker-dealers, the emergence of an SEC strategy regarding cryptocurrencies, a full year in office for a new SEC team and philosophy, the rising challenges of cybersecurity, and more.
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Holiday Compliance: It’s Not Just Gifts, It’s Client and Vendor Parties

December 7, 2018  Every year at this time, advisory firms and their employees take a fresh look at their gift and entertainment policies to ensure that there are no compliance problems and that everyone knows what is expected. While many employees are aware of their firms’ dollar limits for receiving or giving gifts, there is another issue that draws less attention: employee attendance at holiday parties thrown by clients, prospective clients, vendors or other third parties.
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Delays in Providing Compliance Resources to Inexperienced CCO Detailed in Two SEC Settlements

November 16, 2018  The SEC this month reached a settlement with a former advisory firm over allegations that it failed to perform adequate due diligence and monitoring of key investments. Much of the paperwork in the settlement, as well as in a separate settlement with the adviser’s former chief executive officer involving compliance issues, focused on allegations that the firm hired an inexperienced chief compliance officer and then repeatedly refused to provide him with the compliance resources he requested.
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Adviser Relationships with Sub-Advisers Draw Examiner Scrutiny

November 2, 2018  Advisers need to step up their game in terms of overseeing their sub-advisers. SEC examiners are scrutinizing the relationships between advisers and sub-advisers for conflicts of interest and to ensure that advisers are properly on top of what their sub-advisers are doing.
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Cybersecurity Again Top Adviser Compliance Topic

July 20, 2018  A recently released nationwide survey provides numbers behind what should not be a surprise conclusion for most asset management professionals: Cybersecurity remains far and away the hottest topic among investment advisers, dwarfing other concerns like advertising, custody, privacy and fiduciary duty.
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Check Out Audit Team Members before Retaining Firm

June 22, 2018  It is essential that accounting firms hired to perform audits – and their individual audit team members – have credibility, and that asset managers that hire such firms know they can rely on their work. Failure on the part of advisory firms and other financial institutions to ensure that those performing the audit are up to snuff may result in serious consequences.
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Self-Report or Not: Consider What’s at Stake

March 30, 2018  The SEC’s recent share class initiative – in which the agency promises not to charge civil money penalties to advisers that voluntarily report that they placed clients in certain share classes when less expensive classes were available – has cast a spotlight on the question of whether self-reporting is a good idea.
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Risk Matrix: Consider the Benefits of This Living Compliance Tool

March 9, 2018  Experienced chief compliance officers have a number of tools and practices at their disposal to ensure success at their jobs. One tool used by the savviest CCOs is a risk matrix: a continually updated, or living, chart that plots a changing list of compliance challenges against the risks they pose and actions taken to reduce those risks. If a CCO does not yet have a risk matrix in place, he or she would be wise to consider developing one.
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Multiple and Repeated Compliance Problems Likely to Draw SEC Action

January 12, 2018  Compliance is more than simply taking steps to satisfy regulators. If followed in spirit, with an eye toward ethics, compliance should be part of a culture where advisory firms do the right thing simply because it is right. In doing so, they will probably find that they are more likely to satisfy SEC requirements and thereby head off potential enforcement actions.
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Hedge Fund Compliance: Insider Trading, Allocation, Alternative Data, and More

January 5, 2018  Advisers managing hedge funds, to a large extent, face many of the same issues that advisers managing other funds do. Requirements regarding fees and expenses, custody, books and records and more must be met. There are other compliance issues, however, where the SEC can be expected to pay particular attention to hedge funds – and managing advisers would be wise to make sure they are on top of them.
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2017 in Review: A New SEC, Cybersecurity Threats and the Fiduciary Rule

January 1, 2018  The past year saw a great deal of change and development in the asset management community, but three loom larger than others: A new SEC with Jay Clayton at the helm, bringing different priorities than his predecessor; exacerbating cybersecurity concerns, with the SEC itself one of the victims; and the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule and its exemptions, delays in their taking effect, and the increasing likelihood of SEC involvement in the process.
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2018: What Advisers Should Expect in the Year Ahead

January 1, 2018  Prognostication is always a bit of a guessing game. What may look like priorities in January may be replaced by other issues in the latter part of the year or may be driven by external and internal events, politics and the marketplace. Whatever may occur, 2018 is already marked as a year for change in the asset management industry.
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OCIE Turns the Spotlight on Municipal Adviser Compliance Failures

November 10, 2017  The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations on November 7 issued a Risk Alert based on its observations from examinations of municipal advisers. The observations make clear that OCIE finds compliance lacking in at least three key areas: registration, recordkeeping and supervision.
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Chief Compliance Officers: Know When and How to Resign

August 18, 2017  Few chief compliance officers want to resign for any reason other than accepting a better offer at another firm. The reality, however, is that CCOs may find themselves in positions where, for compliance reasons and to protect their own career credibility, they have little choice but to consider resignation. The key is recognizing when those times arise and knowing how to extricate themselves from their errant firms safely.
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More Advisers, More Assets Under Management in 2017

August 4, 2017  2017, at least so far, has been a good year for the investment adviser profession. There are more investment advisers, more registered assets under management and continued job growth.
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Protect Your Firm and Clients Against MNPI Risks in Bank Loan Investments

July 20, 2017  Some advisers are expressing interest in investing fund or other client assets in bank loans. Such loans may pay higher yields than other fixed income investments – but they also may carry higher risks, including exposure to material non-public information and potential insider trading issues. If you choose to invest in these loans, know the risks and the best practices to keep your clients and your firm safe.
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Cybersecurity Hottest Compliance Topic among Advisers in 2017, Survey Finds

July 14, 2017  It was true for the past three years, and it’s true again in 2017: Cybersecurity is the hottest compliance topic among investment advisers, according to a nationwide survey released this month. Eighty-six percent of advisers think so. Custody is a distant second, with 26 percent of advisory firms ranking it as the most important compliance concern.
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High Court Will Review Protections for Whistleblowers Who Report Only Internally

July 7, 2017  Are whistleblowers protected from employer retaliation if they report wrongdoing to their employer but not to the SEC? The answer will depend on the U.S. Supreme Court, which this fall will review a lower-level court case dealing with that very question.
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