Last week, our organization convened our annual two-day compliance conference for investment advisory firms. More than 200 compliance professionals made the trek to Crystal City, Virginia (across the bridge from Washington, DC) to hear SEC staff, in-house legal/compliance professionals, and practicing attorneys opine on topics ranging from the SEC’s new whistlebower program and changes to Form ADV, Part 1, to issues relating to CCO liability, the SEC’s ever-changing inspection program and much more.
At the start, I moderated a panel of veteran compliance experts: Bob Plaze, deputy director of the SEC’s Investment Management Division (who has been with the SEC for nearly three decades and involved in every major regulatory decision involving the Investment Advisers Act during that time), Chris Jackson, senior VP and general counsel at Calamos Investments (who previously worked at Deutsche Asset Management, Hansberger Global Investors, and Van Kampen since starting his career in 1986), and Tom Giachetti, a shareholder and chairman of the securities practice at the law firm Stark & Stark (who started practicing law in 1986 and authors regular columns for Investment Advisor magazine).
In reviewing the history of Advisers Act compliance, we all agreed that there have been exponential changes in the amount and complexity of regulations governing the investment advisory profession. Many of those changes can be traced to 1996, when Congress enacted legislation allocating regulatory responsibility between the SEC (advisory firms with at least $25 million AUM) and the various State regulatory authorities (advisory firms with less than $25 million AUM).