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.
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.
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.
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.