2018 in Review: Standards of Care, Cryptocurrencies, SEC Changes and More

With the past year almost over and a new one about to begin, its 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.

IAA Urges Senate Committee to Focus on Proxies, Not Proxy Advisory Firms

Stay away from proxy advisory firms and focus instead on repairing proxy infrastructure. That was the message the Investment Adviser Association sent in a letter this month to the Senate Banking Committee, which on the same day held a hearing on issues related to a bill that, if passed, would require proxy advisory firms to register with the SEC as investment advisers, meaning they would be subject to agency regulation.

Proxy Advisory Firms Again Front and Center Following SEC Roundtable

The role of proxy advisory firms returned to center stage in recent days following an SEC roundtable that raised questions about the influence such firms have over advisers and funds, conflicts of interest, whether proxy advisers should be regulated, and more. As with a similar roundtable five years ago, viewpoints were aired, with questions remaining about what actions, if any, might be taken at some future date.

SEC Withdraws Two No-Action Letters Regarding Use of Proxy Advisory Firms

The SEC on September 13 did something unexpected: It pulled two 2004 Division of Investment Management no-action letters concerning advisers use of proxy advisory firms in preparation for a planned November roundtable on the subject. What made the move unusual was not that the agency decided to supersede the letters, but that it did so by actually removing them, rather than simply issuing new guidance indicating a change of course.

Proxy Advisory Firms Again Come Under the SEC Spotlight

Advisers use of proxy advisory firms, including the degree to which advisers follow proxy advisers recommendations when they vote, will again come before the SEC, as part of a planned roundtable on the proxy process this fall. Whether any changes will result is another matter.

Guidance on Proxy Advisory Firms and Proxy Voting Issued by SEC Staff

The SEC has once again dipped its toe into the recently churned waters of proxy advisory firms and proxy voting - and is this time providing some answers.

Role of Proxy Advisory Services Discussed and Debated at SEC Roundtable

Judging by the diversity of opinions on the issue, the SEC may need the equivalent of a proxy advisory service to help it decide whether proxy advisory service reform is necessary and, if so, just what should be done.There were certainly no conclusions reached at an SEC roundtable December 5 attended by 18 industry participants, […]

Proxy Advisory Firms and Their Role Up for Debate

Concerns about conflicts of interest, failure to conduct adequate research and outsized influence have dogged the use of proxy advisory firms by institutional investors and investment advisers for several years. These questions will likely get a full airing December 5 at an SEC public roundtable. The forum should be welcome news to SEC Commissioner Daniel […]

Reliance on Third-Party Proxy Advisory Firms Called into Question

The increased use of proxy advisory firms by investment advisers and large institutional investors to help them cast corporate governance ballots may result in votes not based on fiduciary duty, according to one SEC Commissioner. The last thing we should want is for investment advisers to adopt a mindset that leads to them blindly casting their […]

SEC Brings First Proxy Voting Enforcement Case

A few weeks ago, the 400-plus compliance professionals who participated in the 2009 Investment Management Compliance Testing Survey (co-sponsored by ACA Insight, ACA Compliance Group, the Investment Adviser Association, and Old Mutual) were asked to identify the “hottest” compliance topics. They ranked “proxy voting” dead last. That, we predict, is about to change. On May […]

Audio Interviews

How to Read an SEC Enforcement Action

Stern Tannenbaum law firm partner Aegis Frumento on how to get the most from reading an SEC administrative order or court complaint.

Most Important Supreme Court Decisions for Advisers and Funds

Find out the high court decisions from recent years that are likely to affect how advisers and investment companies work from Debevoise partner Robert Kaplan. 

Top 10 Cybersecurity Steps to Take Now

Sutherland law firm partner Brian Rubin shares the most urgent cybersecurity steps for investment advisers.

Top Marketing Problems … and Solutions

Get solutions for the top marketing challenges that advisers face from ACA Compliance Group managing director Kimberly Daly

Watch Out for 5 Cybersecurity Myths

ACA Aponix Director Pascal Busnel on the most common cybersecurity myths that may cause firms to spend resources where they may not be needed.

The Hidden Costs of Non-Compliance

Proskauer law firm partner and former SEC Division of Investment Management deputy director Robert Plaze on why the costs of non-compliance go way beyond an SEC penalty.

CCO Liability: How to Protect Yourself

Find out from Blue Edge Capital CCO Margaret Fretz what chief compliance officers may be liable for and best practices to make sure you are protected.

Ethics or Compliance: Making the Choice

Find out the difference an ethics, rather than a compliance, perspective makes at an advisory firm from former Ethics and Compliance Officer Association COO Timothy Mazur.