Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics Concerns During COVID-19 and Beyond

COVID-19 has bought a “new normal”. From stay-at-home orders and teleworking requirements to market volatility, consumer worry, and delayed public disclosure, the face of the industry will be forever changed. In light of this, Registered Investment Advisor compliance departments should consider reviewing the landscape of the Code of Ethics requirements.

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Compliance Surveillance

Compliance Surveillance Trends During COVID-19

The messages are clear. Sales practice concerns, fraud, and operational issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic have arrived. Compliance professionals who are responsible for the surveillance and review of targeted areas of the compliance program should understand what may be coming down the pipe and ensure that their programs are sufficiently flexible to identify potential red flags.

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Reg BI

Regulation Best Interest: Examination Focus Areas

Last month, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a Risk Alert regarding examinations that will focus on broker-dealers’ compliance with Regulation Best Interest. The SEC wanted to make clear that the Regulation Best Interest compliance date of June 30, 2020 will not be extended. The OCIE will begin examinations with the program and will continue to add this element as part of exams for one year after the implementation date.

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Form CRS

Form CRS: Initial Examination Guidance

The June 30th compliance deadline for Regulation Best Interest and Form CRS is quickly approaching. It presents new compliance requirements for broker-dealers and investment advisers engaging in a retail business.

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regulatory exam

Regulatory Exam Preparedness and COVID-19

Your firm is beginning to get in the groove since the shelter-in-place orders have been implemented. In the past, you have worked from home on certain days, but the transition to full-time teleworking, homeschooling, and pet sitting has been a challenging reality. Then surprise! You get a call from your regulatory coordinator that FINRA or the SEC has decided to conduct a regulatory exam of your firm starting now.

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Compliance

Compliance and COVID-19: Opportunities for Growth

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for many financial service firms. Compliance programs are no exception. Firms are generally responsible for building, testing, and enforcing their compliance programs.

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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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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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Electronic Storage Media

Electronic Storage Requirements: Is Your Firm Ready to Go Paperless?

Is your small broker-dealer drowning in boxes and boxes of paper? Do you cringe every time you think of storing yet another 50+ page document? Are you interested in exploring the benefits of cloud-based storage? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you must first consider your firm’s regulatory requirements for electronic storage media.

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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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