In its third rulemaking in two days without holding a meeting, the SEC proposed a new rule that would require registered investment advisers to adopt and implement written business continuity and transition plans. The proposed rule is designed to ensure that investment advisers have plans in place to address operational and other risks related to a significant disruption in the adviser’s operations in order to minimize client and investor harm.

The proposed rule would require an adviser’s plan to be based upon the particular risks associated with the adviser’s operations and include policies and procedures addressing the following specified components: maintenance of systems and protection of data; pre-arranged alternative physical locations; communication plans; review of third-party service providers; and plan of transition in the event the adviser is winding down or is unable to continue providing advisory services. The plans would be required to address these elements that are critical to minimizing and preparing for material service disruptions, but would permit advisers to tailor the detail of their plans based upon the complexity of their business operations and the risks attendant to their particular business models and activities.

The proposed rule and rule amendments also would require advisers to review the adequacy and effectiveness of their plans at least annually and to retain certain related records.