Fifth Circuit Weighs In on DOL Fiduciary Rule

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has vacated the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule. In a 2-1 split, the Fifth Circuit’s decision overrules a Dallas District Court’s decision, which had previously upheld the rule. Unfortunately, the decision does little to settle the fate of the beleaguered rule. Although it … Continued

OCIE Examined 15% of RIAs in 2017

In 2017, the SEC examined 2,114 investment advisers, approximately 15 percent of the 14,000+ registered investment advisers, the SEC confirmed in its Fiscal Year 2019 Congressional Budget Justification Annual Performance Plan. In the same report, the SEC said the staff will continue to improve its efforts of RIAs, noting that nearly 35 percent of all … Continued

SEC’s Exam Priorities Offer Insight Into National Exam Program

On February 7, 2018, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) issued their 2018 Examination Priorities (see Ascendant’s summary here). In addition to defining their examination priorities for the year, the OCIE staff offered some insight into the National Exam Program.  Specifically, they defined the following five principles in executing their exam priorities: … Continued

SEC Updates: ICO Gatekeeper Standards, SEC/CFTC Swap Rules

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton had some stern advice for market professionals, especially gatekeepers, who he said need to act responsibly and hold themselves to high standards. Speaking via videoconference during Securities Regulation Institute’s recent annual conference, he said, “To be blunt, from what I have seen recently, particularly in the initial coin offering (“ICO”) space, they … Continued

DOL Rule Extension to Overlap with SEC Consideration of Fiduciary Standards

Following the Department of Labor’s November 27, 2017 announcement of an 18-month extension to the existing Fiduciary Rule transition period, the industry will enter a period of further study for proper standards for disclosure or elimination of conflicted compensation arrangements. That’s a mouthful right there. The Obama administration’s March 31, 2017 implementation of various new prohibited … Continued

New Remedy Coming for SEC’s Custody Rule?

The SEC’s Custody Rule continues to be a common source of confusion and a landmine for noncompliance. Custodial paperwork has caused huge headaches for investment advisers, who are not a party to the agreement and may not even have a copy of the custodial new account paperwork. The issue with existing guidance is that it … Continued

SEC Issues MiFID II No-Action Relief

Some industry anxiety was assuaged on October 26 with three no-action letters that offer relief for some US regulated broker-dealers and investment advisers regarding European MiFID II regulations. The letters followed consultation with the European authorities, and are designed to address concerns that investors could lose access to valuable research. MiFID II is a series of regulations … Continued

Firms Encouraged Not to Overlook Oct. 1 Books and Records Changes

While changes to Form ADV on October 1, 2017 have been well-publicized, we encourage firms not to overlook the other changes to Books and Records requirements put forth in the SEC’s final rule release, effective October 1, 2017. The changes to the Rule relate to the retention of documents regarding the calculation of performance data. Rule … Continued

SEC Offers Regulatory Relief to Advisers Affected by Hurricanes

On September 28, 2017, the SEC provided regulatory relief to individuals and entities subject to the ’33 Act, ’34 Act and ’40 Act who were affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria. The relief came in the form of conditional exemptions from certain requirements. The hurricanes, which struck between August and September of 2017, devastated … Continued

SEC Discloses Cybersecurity Breach That May Have Led to Insider Trading

The determination of hackers to exploit existing cybersecurity vulnerabilities of government agencies and businesses shot to the forefront again last Wednesday, when SEC Chair Jay Clayton revealed that the commission’s EDGAR database had been hacked in 2016 through a software vulnerability in the test filing component of the system. According to Clayton, the breach was … Continued

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Insurance Considerations for Investment Advisers

How much coverage is enough? What types of insurance policies do you need? Whether you are starting an investment advisory practice, launching a new line of business, or reevaluating your existing risks, there are critical questions to ask to make sure you understand the various ways to protect your firm. Join us for a practical … Continued

Fifth Circuit Weighs In on DOL Fiduciary Rule

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has vacated the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule. In a 2-1 split, the Fifth Circuit’s decision overrules a Dallas District Court’s decision, which had previously upheld the rule. Unfortunately, the decision does little to settle the fate of the beleaguered rule. Although it … Continued

SEC Proposes Amending Investment Company Liquidity Disclosures in Forms N-PORT and N-1A

On March 14, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed amendments to the mutual fund liquidity-related disclosure requirements. Specifically, the proposal: Adds a new requirement to “briefly discuss the operation and effectiveness of the Fund’s liquidity risk management program during the most recently completed fiscal year” in the Fund’s Management Discussion of Fund Performance … Continued

Paradigm Shift in SEC Exams, Benefits of a Mock Exam

For investment advisers currently going through an SEC exam, the process likely bears little resemblance to exams of old. Call it the new normal, a paradigm shift, or simply the effects of the SEC having to do more with less, but anecdotal evidence among those now experiencing the exam process suggests some interesting new trends. … Continued

Why Should a Big Hedge Fund Use a Compliance Consultant?

If your firm isn’t already using an outside consultant, you may want to ask yourself “why not?” Oftentimes at hedge funds, compliance officers struggle to successfully fulfill the requirements of the job without an essential tool in their toolbox: the outside compliance consultant. Why? The primary reason is simple: resources. When your head is down … Continued

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