OCIE Releases 2020 Examination Priorities

January 30, 2020

The 2020 Examination Priorities of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission were announced on January 7, 2020, and cover eight broad topics:

  • Protection of retail investors, including seniors and those saving for retirement (with a focus on the standards of conduct owed to retail investors);
  • Information security and cyber-security risks;
  • Financial technology (fintech) and innovation, including digital assets and investment advisers that provide electronic investment advice (i.e., “robo-advisers”);
  • Focus areas for examinations of registered investment advisers (RIAs) and registered investment companies, including compliance programs, never-before and not-recently examined RIAs, mutual funds and ETFs, and RIAs to private funds;
  • Focus areas for examinations of broker-dealers and municipal advisors;
  • Anti-money laundering (AML) programs;
  • Critical market infrastructure functions of entities such as clearing agencies, securities exchanges and transfer agents; and
  • Quality and effectiveness of the operations and regulatory programs, policies, procedures and controls of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB).

While most of the above topics are the same as those included in the 2019 OCIE Examination Priorities, this year’s Examination Priorities include two notable additions: a focus on major rulemaking initiatives (including the 2019 rulemaking/guidance package consisting of Regulation Best Interest, the Form CRS Relationship Summary and two interpretations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (collectively, Standard of Conduct Initiatives)); and a focus on the accuracy and adequacy of disclosures relating to sustainable and responsible investment strategies, including strategies that incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.

Read full verison of OCIE Releases 2020 Examination Priorities here.

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