As part of its routine examinations, FINRA will often coordinate with the MSRB to ensure its members are complying with applicable rules. MasterComplaince is posting this blog to remind MSRB members of their obligations and to share recent inquiries.
Investment advisers that have custody of client funds or securities are required to undergo an annual surprise examination by an independent public accountant to verify client funds and securities. Form ADV-E is used as a cover page for a certificate of accounting of securities and funds of which the investment adviser has custody, aka a surprise exam report. Form ADV-E contains both information about the adviser and the surprise exam conducted. The Form ADV-E is filled out by the investment adviser and then submitted along with the surprise examination report or statement by the independent public accountant after a surprise inspection of the adviser.
Investment advisers should review, no less frequently than annually, the adequacy of its written compliance policies and procedures and the effectiveness of their implementation. The states expect annual reviews to take into consideration any compliance matters that arose during the previous year, any changes in the business activities of the adviser or its affiliates, and any changes in the Investment Advisers Act or related rules that may impact the adviser’s policies and procedures. In addition, the state expects that an investment adviser will review its compliance policies and procedures on an interim basis in response to significant compliance issues, changes in business activities, and new regulation. In accordance with state rules, this memorandum summarizes the key components of annual reviews for the adviser.
Investment advisers should consider the need to perform a branch office inspection of branch offices pursuant to a branch office inspection schedule. Firms should consider whether a branch audit is warranted using factors such as nature and complexity of the branch’s business, volume of business, complaints, disclosures, number of registered persons, and other relevant factors determined by the firm. Firms are to document the exam schedules for each branch office including a description of the factors used to determine the exam cycle for such locations.
Various states require investment advisers to conduct regular inspections of their branch offices. For example, an investment adviser registered in Georgia is required to inspect each office location at least annually to ensure that its written policies and procedures are enforced. Even when an investment adviser is not explicitly required to conduct branch inspections, it should still implement a branch inspection program as part of its supervisory procedures. Also, investment advisers lacking an adequate branch office inspection program expose themselves to significant liability for failure to supervise in the event misconduct at the branch goes undetected.
On December 1, 2020, the state of New York adopted new regulations that amended its Investment Advisory Act to require the registration of investment adviser representatives (“IAR”) including principals, supervisors, and solicitors through the WebCRD/IARD system. Prior to the rule change, New York was the only state that did not license IAR via the WebCRD/IARD system. The change to to New York IAR registration will go into effect on February 1, 2021 for all new registrants, and December 2, 2021 for any New York IARs already providing services, provided they apply for registration by August 31, 2021. The Amendments The Read more about Change to New York IAR Registration[…]
MasterCompliance continues to provide clients and the public with guidance on industry focus areas, new rules, compliance foundations, and regulatory priorities. This blog explores our top 5 blogs of 2020.