Teleworking

Teleworking Considerations During COVID-19 Pandemic

Many financial service institutions have been hesitant to create teleworking processes and systems that would give them more flexibility to service clients and build the business. However, within the regulatory framework, landmines appear at every turn.

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BCP

BCP and COVID-19: Considerations for Firms

Many financial service firms have written supervisory procedures in place for business continuity planning (BCP). Tucked somewhere on a server or in a binder, many plans have been collecting dust. More than likely, these plans are only taken out during regulatory exams, branch audits, or internal testing. However, the current reality of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has Read more about BCP and COVID-19: Considerations for Firms[…]

Enforcement Actions

SEC Enforcement Actions: Key Takeaways for 2020

Enforcement actions can be scary, especially if you or your Firm are named in the enforcement. For the rest of us, enforcement actions provide valuable information on patterns of misconduct, rule violations, and overall cautionary tales.

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Top 6

Our Top Six Most Popular Blog Posts

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 six most popular blog posts.

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Fees and Expenses

Fees and Expenses: 2019 SEC Examination Priorities

At the end of each calendar year, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) staff of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) publish a list of topics for the next year’s examination priorities. Not so surprisingly, the first item for the 2019 exam priorities listed is “fees and expenses”. This topic was also the highlight of an OCIE Risk Alert in April 2018 as one of the most frequent compliance issues identified in Examinations of Investment Advisers.

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Senior Investors: Protecting the Client

Today, investment advisers and broker-dealers face many challenges when providing advice to and working for senior investors. Many seniors are living with or approaching diminished capacity due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, and/or other health-related issues. Unfortunately, these health issues create vulnerability for financial exploitation from caregivers, family members, neighbors, friends, medical professionals, lawyers, clergy, bank employees, or financial service professionals.

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Best Execution

Best Execution: Compliance for Investment Advisers

Under the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”), Investment Advisers assume a fiduciary responsibility requiring them to seek and obtain the “best execution” for client transactions when trading in client accounts. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has outlined this responsibility as “an adviser must execute securities transactions for clients in such a manner that the client’s total costs or proceeds in each transaction are the most favorable under the circumstances.” Also, the SEC has indicated Investment Advisers need to periodically “evaluate the execution quality of the broker-dealer executing their clients’ transactions.”

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safeguarding client data

Safeguarding Client Information

With the transition into the electronic storage of client data, Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers are faced with more complex compliance issues regarding safeguarding client information and records. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) OCIE Risk Alert from May 2019 addresses some of the issues and concerns identified with cloud-based storage and possible issues to consider regarding the protection of electronic client and business data.

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Principal Trading and Agency Cross Trading

Principal and Agency Cross Trading

Investment Adviser Principal and Agency Cross Trading practices was the topic of a recent OCIE Risk Alert. The Investment Adviser’s Act Principal Transactions Section 206(3) indicates “Investment Adviser’s acting as a principal for his own account, knowingly to sell any security to or purchase any security from a client, or acting as broker for a person other than such client, without disclosing to such client in writing before the completion of such transaction the capacity in which he is acting and obtaining consent of the client to such transaction” are prohibited unless the appropriate disclosures and consent procedures are addressed and completed according to the compliance requirements.

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Compliance

Compliance, Supervision, and Disclosures

Beginning in 2017, the United States Security and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) initiated a series of examinations aimed at compliance policies and procedures regarding individuals within these firms that had a prior disciplinary history.

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