On January 12, 2017, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) announced its examination priorities for 2017. This year's priorities are focused around three topics: (1) retail investors, (2) senior investors and retirement investments, and (3) market-wide risks. These priorities affect investment advisers, investment companies, broker-dealers, transfer agents, clearing agencies, private fund advisers, national securities exchanges, and municipal advisers.
Protecting retail investors remains a primary concern of OCIE. So it's no surprise that its detailed areas of focus continue to include: risks related to electronic investment advice (i.e. "robo-advising"), "wrap fee" programs where investors are charged a single fee for bundled advisory and brokerage services, and "Never-Before Examined Investment Advisers," an initiative started in 2014. OCIE will also continue to focus on its Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs).
To protect senior investors, OCIE will continue its ReTIRE initiative with focuses on investment advisers and broker-dealers that offer variable insurance products to investors with retirement accounts and advisers that offer and manage target-date funds and registrants' interactions with senior investors. It also plans to examine investment advisers of pension plans of states, municipalities, and other government entities to assess how they are managing conflicts of interest and fulfilling their fiduciary duties, and to evaluate how firms manage their interactions with senior investors.
OCIE's third set of priorities focuses on market-wide risks, including cybersecurity, enhanced oversight of FINRA, additional anti-money laundering examinations, and the SEC's Regulation SCI. OCIE will also continue to examine municipal advisers, transfer agents, and private fund advisers.