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SEC's Top 5 Exam Priorities in 2020

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(Related: SEC Releases FAQ on Reg BI Compliance)

In tandem with its must-read annual exam priorities list, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in early January that its exam division covered approximately 15% of registered investment advisors in 2019.

Pete Driscoll, director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, noted last year that the agency’s advisor exam rate would drop in 2019 due to the 35 days lost during the government shutdown. OCIE, he said, “will not hit the 17% exam rate reached” in 2018.

OCIE completed 3,089 examinations in FY 2019, a 2.7% decrease from the 2,312 advisor exams in FY 2018.

Exams of RIAs in FY 2019, however, “remained strong at approximately 2,180, covering 15% of this population,” OCIE states.

In just the last five years, the number of RIAs overseen by OCIE jumped from about 11,500 to 13,475, and the assets under management of RIAs increased from approximately $62 trillion to $84 trillion.

OCIE completed more than 350 exams of broker-dealers, 110 examinations of national securities exchanges, and more than 90 exams of municipal advisors and transfer agents.

Also completed in 2019 were more than 160 exams of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, including exams of critical FINRA program areas as well as oversight reviews of FINRA exams.

As to OCIE’s exam priorities in 2020, see the gallery above.

— Check out FINRA’s Top 5 Exam Priorities in 2020 on ThinkAdvisor.