Ascendant Compliance Solutions Strategies Spring 2019 Conference

- Miami, Florida

Ascendant and Compliance Solutions Strategies conferences, held in prime locations around the United States, provide a forum for peer networking and the exchange of ideas and experiences in relaxed settings.

In-depth interaction among conference attendees facilitates peer-learning, with guidance and instruction from our panelists and experts. Speakers typically include current and former SEC and FINRA officials, top lawyers and leading CCOs. Focusing on industry trends, recent changes, and day-to-day issues, they offer guidance and tangible solutions that participants can take away for immediate implementation. Conference CLE credits may be accepted by jurisdictions that recognize this approved-provider status.

Our conferences help compliance professionals understand the implications of new and evolving regulations and technologies, explore innovative ways to look at foundational compliance topics, and deconstruct developing rules and initiatives. From the impact of new regulatory initiatives to effective utilization of compliance tools to managing people, processes and technology, join us to learn the latest on developing powerful compliance programs.


Ascendant’s conference is dedicated to providing a cutting-edge experience, with progressive solutions and takeaways for attendees to bring back to their firms.


Pre-Conference Registration


Pre-Conference Breakfast


It’s Legal, But Is It Ethical?
Content Track: Ethics
Just because a business practice is legal doesn’t mean it is the ethical thing to do. Under the fiduciary standard, investment advisers must treat clients fairly and manage their assets in the best interest of the client. But is there a shifting line between ethics and what is legal? In this pre-conference workshop, attendees will learn to connect ethics to their everyday professional lives. The session will teach the building blocks of ethics, including the understanding of behavioral ethics. You will walk away with an understanding of how to create an ethical culture within your own organization, while collecting valuable IACCP continuing education credits.


Refreshing Your Annual Review Process to Address Business and Regulatory Risks
Content Track: Compliance Program
Investment advisers have been conducting annual reviews pursuant to Rule 206(4)-7 for over a decade. During that time regulations and rules have changed and, most likely, so have your firm’s business and technology solutions. The question then becomes how has your process for evaluating your firm’s compliance program evolved. This interactive pre-conference workshop will discuss:

  • The requirements of Rule 206(4)-7
  • The subject matter areas to review
  • The frequency a subject should be reviewed
  • Designing effective testing and evaluation techniques
  • Utilizing staff and service providers to assist the evaluation process
  • Leveraging technology to enhance oversight and testing
  • Memorializing testing
  • The Annual Review report


Pre-Conference Break


Conference Registration


Conference Kickoff


How to Be A Wildly Effective Compliance Officer with Kristy Grant-Hart
Content Track: Career Development
Find out how your perception of your role can change you into a Compliance Superhero. Learn how to use the Four Primary Motivators to supercharge your relationship with the powers within your organization so they become vested in and support the program. Be inspired and uplifted by the message that what we do in the Compliance community is changing the world.


Networking Break


Meet the Compliance Solution Providers


Mitigating the Risk of Insider Trading
Content Track: Compliance Program
The SEC continues to leverage technology to accomplish its enforcement goals. Using proprietary tools to conduct sophisticated data analysis, the SEC has identified and pursued a wide variety of misconduct, including insider trading. After a discussion of recent insider trading-related cases, the panel will discuss best practices to avoid enforcement or reputational harm caused by even an allegation of insider trading. Learn the importance of surveillance, trade blotter testing, due diligence and effective policies and procedures. Learn ways to protect your firm; protect your firm’s reputation and protect yourself!



Key Takeaways from SEC Enforcement and Private Litigation Actions
Content Track: Private Funds
The private fund industry continues to be a prime litigation target for actions brought by the SEC and private investors. This panel will focus on recent regulatory and enforcement initiatives aimed at investment advisors and the funds they manage, and litigation involving those advisors and funds. Topics will include conflicts of interest, accuracy of valuations, fee/expense and trade allocations and cybersecurity events. The panel will also touch on the potential liability of chief legal and chief compliance officers for compliance failures and supervisory shortfalls.

The Regulatory Landscape for Registered Investment Companies – Where Are We Now?
Content Track: RICs
A number of regulatory initiatives pertaining to registered investment companies have become effective in the last 12 months and others are waiting in the wings. This panel will discuss the status of regulations impacting RICs and what compliance professionals and advisers to RICs should be doing or should have done. Among the topics that will be addressed are:

  • The Liquidity Rule (of course)
  • Form N-Port
  • Form N-CEN
  • Use of Derivative

Adaptive Compliance Policies
Content Track: Retail Wealth Management
Though we have not seen significant rulemaking by the SEC in the past 12 months, there has been a shifting attention to new areas of compliance. Yet, many firms have not addressed those attentions within their policies and procedures. With the SEC and state regulators’ attention to retail clients, advisers need to re-evaluate their polices to determine their effectiveness in the ever-changing landscape. Policies on senior clients, books and records requirements, and disclosure obligations are just a fraction of the topics that will be discussed in this dynamic session. By analyzing the SEC Risk Alerts, focus will be paid to those areas where new or revised policies are necessary.


Poolside Reception






Morning Welcome


Meet the Compliance Solution Providers


Blockchain Isn’t Hot Sauce
Content Track: Hot Topics
Blockchain is not the same as Bitcoin, yet often the two are confused or used interchangeably. For some, the technology is touted as the silver bullet with the potential to transform the financial industry as we know it. For others, late adopter status is sufficient and cautious curiosity remains. This special presentation will break down how the technology works – in plain English – and what it can and can’t do to solve problems. From smart contracts to so-called stable coins, how are other countries dealing with the boom in cryptocurrency trading and separating the fraud from the truly innovative applications? How does the U.S. regulatory approach to ICOs differ? What should advisers be thinking about from a compliance standpoint when it comes to blockchain and cryptoassets?


Networking Break


Meet the Compliance Solution Providers



I Spy: Inside the Mind of a Hacker, and Increasing Your Firm’s Culture of Cybersecurity
Content Track: Cybersecurity
How does your organization look to a hacker? You may be surprised at the risk exposure when viewed through the lens of a hacker. In this session, we put you in the driver’s seat to choose how we conduct reconnaissance of a target to conduct a social engineering attack or cyber attack, and how we exploit that target, while we explain the tools, techniques, and concepts along the way. From this session, you will take away invaluable insights into the mindset of a hacker by learning how to see your firm the way hackers see your firm – from physical security controls to personnel risk. And along the way, we will show you how you can use the hacker’s mindset to maintain a strong culture of cybersecurity awareness at your firm.



BREAKOUT (1 of 3)
Marketing Your Message: How an Adviser Markets Their Services
Content Track: Retail Wealth Manager
How an adviser markets their services is crucial to business growth. But there may be stumbling blocks along the way. This session will focus on expanding marketing platforms and the compliant ways to adapt to them. While learning the importance of partnering with your marketing team, attendees will discover how their firm can deliver a strong, effective, yet compliant marketing campaign!

BREAKOUT (2 of 3)
Impact of Artificial Intelligence/Blockchain Technology in the Private Fund Space – Embrace the Future NOW
Content Track: Private Funds
The private fund industry continues to explore and, in some cases, embrace the opportunities provided by blockchain and artificial intelligence “AI” technologies. This panel will explore the case for using these technologies and consider how they can transform the private fund space. A number of topics and questions will be evaluated. For example, what aspects of your business can be made more effective? Can AI be used for deal due diligence or other investment evaluation? Is AI capable of facilitating your trading surveillance? Can blockchain technology be utilized to streamline the capital call process to allow for the required approvals, document delivery and the movement of cash – all with minimum manual intervention? These and other possible industry ramifications of AI/blockchain technologies will be addressed.

BREAKOUT (3 of 3)
Practical Steps to Monitor Insider Trading
Content Track: Portfolio Management & Trading
How do you manage your firm’s insider trading policies and practices? What processes do you have in place to watch for insider trading? Join us for a review of real-world changes firms have made to streamline their workflow covering personal and client trading to look for insider trading.




An Insider’s Look at OCIE with Pete Driscoll
Content Track: Hot Topics
Since taking the helm as the Director of OCIE, Peter Driscoll has made a commitment to transparency in advancing the SEC’s mission. He continues by joining Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Partner Steven Stone in a wide-ranging discussion designed to highlight 2019 OCIE priorities as well as future exam initiatives. For any compliance officer with questions about the exam process or with an eye on the future, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to stay abreast of new and changing developments.


BREAKOUT (1 of 3)
The Criticality of Disclosure 
Content Track: Retail Wealth Management
Form ADV Part 3 may be on the horizon for investment advisers, thus stressing the SEC’s focus on the topic of disclosure. And while a new Form CRS may be forthcoming, the reality is, existing Form ADV disclosure may still be lacking. This session will drill down on the various sections of the Form ADV and highlight areas where improvements can be made.

BREAKOUT (2 of 3)
Serving as a Sub-Adviser to Registered Investment Companies
Content Track: RICs
Your firm was engaged to serve as a sub-adviser to a mutual, open-end or closed-end fund. From the compliance perspective, what does that mean in terms of reporting to the fund’s board or adviser? The panel will explore:

  • The types of reporting a sub-adviser may need to provide to a fund’s board or adviser
  • Managing multiple sub-adviser relationships
  • How sub-advisory relationships with registered investment companies impact a firm’s policies
  • Strategies for effectively managing sub-advisory relationships

BREAKOUT (3 of 3)
Conducting Tailored Annual Reviews at Private Funds – What Does the SEC expect?
Content Track: Private Funds
So, what does the SEC expect to see in your annual review? Is there specific SEC guidance on this topic? This panel will provide some practical insights into performing your annual review. Which topics should you review and how should the review be conducted/documented? The panel will address some strategies to consider when wordsmithing the annual review report with a view to future regulatory review, as well as review by potential investors. Subject areas to include in the review will be covered, such as the review of compliance policies and procedures that may be affected by changes in your business or business practices since the last review was conducted.


Networking Break


BREAKOUT (1 of 3)
Designing Effective Service Provider Due Diligence Programs
Content Track: Compliance Program
Regulators have made it clear that your firm can outsource certain business functions to third-party service providers. They have also made it equally clear that your firm retains responsibility for such activities. In order to select service providers and monitor their activities, it is imperative to develop an effective due diligence oversight program. Our panel will discuss:

  • distinguishing between service providers and vendors
  • what due diligence and monitoring means
  • aligning your firm’s resources with the service provider due diligence program
  • the importance of documenting your oversight of service providers

BREAKOUT (2 of 3)
Security Blanket: Phase 3 Cyber Exams and the Layers of Defense
Content Track: Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is near the top of regulatory concerns, and for good reason. The SEC’s phase 3 cybersecurity examination initiative is examining investment advisers’ information security practices around integration of systems and technology following mergers and acquisitions. Meanwhile, recent enforcement and information security research show that many firms are still struggling to get a handle on even basic cybersecurity protections. In this session, we will discuss the cyber issues that federal and state regulators are trying to manage, the components of a layered defense strategy, and how even self-professed non-technical people can help protect the firm.

BREAKOUT (3 of 3)
Shareholder Disclosure
Content Track: Portfolio Management & Trading
When CCOs are asked “What keeps you up at night?”, often topping the list is missing a shareholder filing deadline in a foreign jurisdiction. From short sale reporting to takeover panel filings to position limits, we’ll discuss which jurisdictions are the most challenging and why. We’ll also give tips on how firms are handling the overwhelming task of tracking the variety of shareholder reporting triggers, filing methods via government forms and web portals, and tight deadlines across multiple time zones.


South Beach Sunshine Reception



Morning Workout — Bootcamp






BREAKOUT (1 of 3)
The Aging Population and Its Impact on the Investment Management Industry

Content Track: Retail Wealth Management
The dramatic increase in life expectancy in the United States is one of the greatest cultural and scientific advances in our history. Yet, we are woefully unprepared to address the challenges of the aging population, specifically as it relates to investment advisory services. As clients confront diminished capacity, Alzheimer’s and other illnesses associated with aging, advisers continue to look at the regulators for guidance. Throw in the Senior $afe Act, and it’s a minefield of hazards if a misstep occurs. Learn practical ways advisers can protect their practices, while also protecting this generation. Topics will include recent regulatory guidance, policies and procedures considerations and ways to surveille portfolio accounts of senior clients.

BREAKOUT (2 of 3)
Compliance 2.0: Being a Strategic Partner in Your Firm
Content Track: Career Development

BREAKOUT (3 of 3)
Portfolio Monitoring
Content Track: Portfolio Management & Trading


BREAKOUT (1 of 3)
Identifying Conflicts Through Code of Ethics Reporting
Content Track: Compliance Program
Registered investment advisers have a duty to identify, manage and disclose conflicts of interest. Often it is the activities of the advisers’ personnel that create the conflicts. As such, a firm’s standards of business conduct policies, such as those set forth in a Code of Ethics, are the first line of defense to identify and manage conflicts. This session will review:

  • Standards of Business Conduct policies, including personal trading, outside business activities, political contributions and gifts & entertainment
  • Reviewing employee reporting and monitoring activities
  • Disclosing conflicts
  • Addressing exceptions and violations of firm policies

BREAKOUT (2 of 3)
Identifying Real Estate and Private Equity Conflicts of Interest
Content Track: Private Funds
This panel will focus on a wide variety of trends in fundraising and structuring of private equity/hedge funds. Panelists will discuss the various viewpoints of fund managers and L.P. investors, including with respect to co-investments, advisory boards and transparency. The panel will also address a host of key considerations, including fee arrangements, liquidity arrangements, large investor/early bird terms, recent developments in MFNs and side letters.

BREAKOUT (3 of 3)
Oversight of Service Providers to Registered Investment Companies
Content Track: RICs
Rule 38a-1 of the Investment Company Act clearly provides for the oversight of service providers to registered investment funds. This responsibility falls to Fund CCOs and investment advisers to funds. Our session will provide practical approaches to monitoring and evaluating service providers, including addressing:

  • Identifying service providers and the risk they represent to a fund
  • Elements of a due diligence review
  • Types of monitoring
  • Frequency of evaluations
  • Documenting due diligence reviews and Board reporting



Networking Break


Raffle Drawing


General Session
Big Data Part III: The Global Regulatory Governance of Data
Content Track: Hot Topics
This panel will discuss the ever-increasing US and EU reporting requirements being imposed on investment management firms since the Global Financial Crisis. The challenge of reporting trades, transactions and contracts to regulators has exploded since the Global Financial Crisis, and with the imminent arrival of SFTR in Europe it seems this is about to expand again. How can investment managers handle the challenge of reporting trades, transactions and contracts in multiple jurisdictions, including at home where SEC examinations and market monitoring have led to exponential growth in reporting? What should investment managers be doing right now, and how should they be planning to handle even more reporting?

  • Dodd-Frank’s Reporting Requirements
  • Current Status of SEC Big Data Tools
  • N-PORT & N-CEN Transformation of RIC Reporting
  • What EMIR, MIFID II and SFTR Can Teach Us About the Future
  • How Best Interest Disclosures Could Function Like PRIIPS


Hot Topics Speed Round
Content Track: Compliance Program


Departing Comments and Thank You


Loews Miami Beach Resort

1601 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Hotel Reservations

Ascendant has reserved a block of hotel rooms at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel for the nights of Sunday, April 14 – Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

Click here for Room Reservations or you may call the Loews Reservation Center, 888-879-0462 or 615-340-5778 and identify yourself as part of  the Ascendant Conference room block.
The room rate of $299.00/night single or double is offered three days before and three days after the conference based upon availability.

Check In: 4pm | Check Out: 11am

Group Rate Cut-Off: Thursday, March 14, 2019 – Make your reservations early.

Recommended Airport

Miami International Airport (MIA). Located 12.9 miles from the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.

Ground Transportation

Ubers and Taxis fare from Miami International Airport to the hotel is approximately $35 each way.

Hotel Map

Local Attractions

Things to Do Near Loews Miami Beach Hotel

Conference Registration

To register for this conference please click the button below:

Register Now

Questions? Call us at 860-435-2255, email us, or get in touch via our contact page.

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Ascendant works together with clients to identify and assess critical needs through customized plans. If you need assistance with compliance functions, regulatory services, cybersecurity or technology tools, we’d love to speak with you.