On January 7, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced its 2020 national examination priorities. This is the eighth year that OCIE has published its fiscal year examination priorities. The 2020 priorities are broken down into the following categories: (1) matters of importance to retail investors, including seniors and those saving for retirement; (2) information security; (3) financial technology (fintech) and innovation, including digital assets and electronic investment advice (or “robo-advisers”); (4) additional focus areas involving registered investment advisers and investment companies; (5) additional focus areas involving broker-dealers and municipal advisors; (6) anti-money laundering programs; (7) market infrastructure; and (8) focus on Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board matters.

OCIE’s announced priorities should come as no surprise, as they reflect many of the concerns and risks the SEC and its Staff have expressed in recent years. More importantly, these priorities should serve as a roadmap for firms to test for, enhance and remediate any suspected deficiencies in these areas as they assess their policies, procedures and compliance programs.

OCIE’s 2020 examination priorities document is available at https://www.sec.gov/about/offices/ocie/national-examination-program-priorities-2020.pdf.

The SEC’s press release, which includes summaries of areas of interest to funds and investment advisers, is available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-4.