SEC ‘Switch’ Details Out by December

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  • Risk-Based Oversight of Investment Advisors Even if the SEC had a larger budget and more resources, it is doubtful that the Commission would have the resources to regularly examine all RIAs. Therefore, the SEC is likely to continue relying on risk-based oversight to fulfill its mission of protecting investors.
  • RIAs and Customer Identification Just as RIAs owe a duty to diligently protect their clients’ privacy and guard against theft, firms also play a vital role in customer identification. Although RIAs are not subject to an anti-money laundering rule, securities regulators expect advisors to address these issues in their policies and procedures.

John Walsh, associate director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), told attendees at the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA) annual meeting at the end of September that the SEC and NASAA are working together “very well” on the details associated with switching nearly 4,000 advisors from federal to state registration and that the SEC plans to have a proposed rule concerning the switch out between October and December.

“Before December, you should hear what the SEC’s plan is [regarding the switching of advisors], and you will be able to comment,” Walsh said. He directed attendees to the newly created section on the SEC’s website devoted to updates on the Dodd-Frank implementation progress. The SEC is already planning for how it will conduct exams after the switch occurs, Walsh added. For instance, he said the SEC wants to make sure that state examiners have all of the details about investment advisor exams the Commission conducted on specific firms, and what the SEC found. “We don’t want to create regulatory arbitrage,” he said.

Along with the shift of investment advisors will also come the shift of private fund managers having to register with the states. Kristina Staples, chief compliance officer at JER Partners, said in her comments at the conference that private fund manager registration will present “a real challenge” for the states because private funds lack a “real infrastructure” for the states to look at. Staples also pointed to a loophole in Dodd-Frank which exempts private fund firms with from $100 million to $150 million from registering with the SEC.

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