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

SEC Cyber Sweep Highlights Areas In Need of Improvement

The results of the SEC’s second cybersecurity sweep examinations are in, and they paint a picture of an industry that has come to grips with the need to address cybersecurity risk, but where the canvas is incomplete in many respects.

Latest Content

Advertising Issues: SEC and GIPS Performance in the Private Fund Space

Over a year ago, OCIE released the Risk Alert, “The Most Frequent Advertising Rule Compliance Issues Identified in OCIE Examinations of Investment Advisers.” While the alert highlighted several areas where performance advertising is involved, our recent CSS/Ascendant conference panelists in a session entitled “Best Practices for SEC and GIPS Performance in the Private Fund Space” … Continued

Placing Ethics and Compliance in the Foreground of Business Decision-Making

Thinking about how to make ethics and compliance part of a business’s decision-making can prove to be challenging. By nature, compliance professionals are often results-oriented, focusing on a binary end-result; either you are in compliance, or you are not. That focus is important, but emphasizing process is also vital, John Walsh, Partner at Eversheds Sutherland … Continued

What Am I Looking At? Making Sense of Your Cyber Testing Reports

It’s no surprise that Compliance and IT do not speak the same language. Compliance staff often speak in terms of regulations and policies, whereas bits and bytes are the language of IT staff. This distinction is clear when it comes to cybersecurity risk management, as the compliance and IT audiences are looking for different takeaways … Continued

It Takes a Village – Preparing for a Regulatory Exam

Advanced planning for a regulatory exam remains a vital step in ensuring the compliance team is prepared when the exam teams comes knocking. At the recent Ascendant/CSS fall conference in San Diego, Allison Fraser moderated the conference’s capstone session on the topic, joined by Bryan Bennett, the Associate Regional Director in the examination program in … 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.