Alaric Compliance Alert: OCIE Announces 2019 Examination Priorities
The SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has just announced its top focus areas for 2019 in its effort to protect market participants and promote compliance. This year particular emphasis will be on retail investors, including seniors and those saving for retirement, compliance and risks in critical market Infrastructure, FINRA and MSRB oversight, cybersecurity, digital assets and anti-money laundering programs.
1. Retail Investors, Including Seniors and Those Saving for Retirement Protecting Main Street investors continues to be a priority in 2019. OCIE will focus examinations on the disclosure and calculation of fees, expenses, and other charges investors pay, the supervision of representatives selling products and services to investors, broker-dealers entrusted with customer assets, and portfolio management and trading.
2. Compliance and Risks in Critical Market Infrastructure OCIE will be scrutinizing the processes, procedures as well as the systems integrity, resiliency and security of service providers that are vital to properly functioning markets, including clearing agencies, exchanges, transfer agents, and alternative trading systems.
3. FINRA and MSRB OCIE will continue its focus on the quality of FINRAs and MSRBs internal controls, operations and oversight of broker-dealers and municipal advisors.
4. Cybersecurity The agency will continue to make cybersecurity enforcement a top priority, evaluating cyber-related governance and risk assessment, proper configuration of network storage devices, information security governance, and policies and procedures related to retail trading information security.
5. Digital Assets For firms actively engaged in the digital asset market, OCIE will conduct examinations focused on, among other things, portfolio management of digital assets, trading, safety of client funds and assets, pricing of client portfolios, compliance, and internal controls.
6. Anti-Money Laundering Programs OCIE will review firms for compliance with anti-money laundering requirements as applicable, including whether firms are appropriately adapting their AML programs to address their regulatory obligations.
The published priorities for 2019 are not exhaustive and will not be the only issues OCIE addresses in its examinations, Risk Alerts, and investor and industry outreach. While the priorities drive OCIEs examinations, the scope of any examination is determined through a risk-based approach that includes analysis of the registrants operations, products offered, and other factors.
Is your firm in compliance with OCIE’s top focus areas?
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