The SEC is in the process of conducting “Compliance Outreach Programs” in regional seminars for investment advisers, investment company senior officers and chief compliance officers. The Compliance Outreach Program was created to promote open communications regarding various investment adviser, fund and broker-dealer compliance issues and to discuss topics including the SEC’s examination process, priorities, risk surveillance, examination selection process, Form PF and other recent industry and regulatory developments. These seminars provide the SEC staff with an opportunity to identify common issues in examinations or investigations and give insight as to how compliance professionals have addressed these various matters.
In connection with these Compliance Outreach Programs, the SEC recently posted a PowerPoint presentation highlighting its exam initiatives and focus areas for the 2014 Investment Adviser/ Investment Company examination program. In this presentation, the SEC noted that upcoming focus areas include fraud detection, general risk management and other ongoing risks, such as safety of assets, conflicts of interest related to marketing/performance, compensation arrangements, conflicts of interest related to the allocation of investment opportunities and fund governance. The SEC noted that it will also be focusing on new and emerging issues, including dual registered investment advisers and broker-dealers, “alternative” investment companies, and payments for distribution in guise. Finally, in upcoming examinations, the SEC will also give more attention to various policy topics, specifically compliance with the “pay-to-play” rules and compliance with exemptive orders.