SEC OCIE Issues 2019 Examination Priorities

Well ahead of the New Year, the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced its 2019 examination priorities. In keeping with OCIE’s four “pillars” of promoting compliance, preventing fraud, identifying and monitoring risk, and informing policy, the Dec. 20 release provides a preview of key areas where OCIE intends to focus its limited … Continued

Lessons Learned: Wargaming Your Incident Response Plan

Data breaches and cyber incidents made headlines again recently with the announcement that 50 million Facebook accounts were compromised as well as the SEC’s issuance of sanctions against a dual registrant stemming from the firm’s response to phishing attacks. So it was both timely and fitting that U.S. intelligence community veteran Jeff Welgan, Executive Director … Continued

Race to the Top – States Push to Broaden Breach Reporting Requirements

Facebook just reported a massive data breach impacting over 50 million user accounts. And while most investment advisers are not likely to experience a breach of that scale, what is likely is that a cyber incident will occur at some point. Consequently, state regulators continue to expand the protections they require for their residents through … Continued

Data Breach Prevention and Response

According to the Investment Firm of the Future, a report published by CFA Institute earlier this year, 24% of the organization’s members rated cybersecurity as their firm’s top technology priority. With the myriad challenges facing investment professionals in 2018, that’s a striking number. What to do? E.J. Yerzak, Director of Cyber IT Services for Ascendant Compliance … Continued

California Privacy Law Brings GDPR-Lite to the U.S.

New Act Will Give Consumers Rights to Access and Delete Their Data In what has become an ongoing race among states to have the toughest privacy regulation in the U.S., California has jumped to the front. On June 28, 2018, California’s legislature unanimously passed a privacy bill that was later signed by Governor Jerry Brown, … 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

Transparency Spreads to FINRA Exam Findings

On December 6, 2017, FINRA did something it has never done before: It released a summary report of its examination findings. While FINRA has annually released an examination priorities letter, this report is a first for examination findings. Why now? Credit FINRA’s new president and CEO, Robert W. Cook..  Since joining FINRA in 2016, Cook … Continued

Publicly Available Information Heightens Need for Cybersecurity Vigilance

For any business, “ports” that allow for communication generally need to be open (for example, ports 80 and 443 for websites, and port 500 for VPN access). While most of these ports allow you to engage in critical functions, there are often ports that remain open despite being unneeded or unused. These available ports present … 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

Latest Content

SEC’s Latest Risk Alert Focuses on Electronic Communications

The SEC’s most recent risk alert, “Observations from Investment Adviser Examinations Relating to Electronic Messaging,” issued on December 14, 2019, focuses on the use and maintenance of electronic communications for business purposes. The purpose of the alert is to remind advisers of their obligations related to personal use of electronic messaging and the requirements for … Continued

SEC OCIE Issues 2019 Examination Priorities

Well ahead of the New Year, the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced its 2019 examination priorities. In keeping with OCIE’s four “pillars” of promoting compliance, preventing fraud, identifying and monitoring risk, and informing policy, the Dec. 20 release provides a preview of key areas where OCIE intends to focus its limited … Continued

Highlights of 2018: Predictions for 2019

Our annual year-end review covers investment adviser compliance highlights from 2018, and makes 2019 predictions. We will highlight enforcement actions and SEC risk alerts for retail advisers, private fund managers, and institutional wealth managers. Using these as road markers, our predictions are designed to lead reasonable and effective compliance program development. Evaluate 2018 Compliance and … Continued

A New View of How Technology Will Change the Emerging Crytpo-Economy

From the top of the world, it’s amazing what you can see.  I recently had the opportunity to travel to the United Arab Emirates to speak in Dubai at the 7th Edition of the Alternative Investment Management Summit. While I was there, I took a few moments to ride to the top of the Burj … Continued

SEC Retail Investor Focus Turns Towards Registered Investment Companies

Earlier this year when the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) announced its 2018 examination priorities, OCIE stated that a core priority was to protect retail investors, including seniors and individuals saving for retirement. OCIE is now continuing this effort by focusing on mutual funds and exchanged-traded funds (together, the “Funds”) as the … Continued

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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.