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SEC's Examination Priorities for 2017

January 12, 2017

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced its 2017 priorities, focusing on electronic investment advice, money market funds, and financial exploitation of senior investors, along with protecting retail investors.


The 2017 examination priorities address issues across a variety of financial institutions – RIAs, mutual funds, B/D’s, transfer agents, clearing agencies, PE advisers, national securities exchanges, and municipal advisors.  Areas of examination focus include:


RETAIL INVESTORS – OCIE will continue several 2016 initiatives to assess risks to retail investors seeking information, advice, products, and services. Exams will review firms delivering investment advice through electronic mechanisms – i.e., “robo-advising” - as well as wrap fee programs, in which investors are charged a single bundled fee for advisory and brokerage services.


SENIOR INVESTORS AND RETIREMENT INVESTMENTS – OCIE will focus on public pension advisers, while expanding its focus on senior investors and individuals investing for retirement.  OCIE’s ReTIRE initiative will be expanded to include reviews of variable insurance products and target-date funds that are offered and/or managed by RIAs and B/D’s. OCIE also will focus more specifically on registrants’ interactions with senior investors, including with respect to identifying financial exploitation.


MARKET-WIDE RISKS – To help maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, OCIE will continue its focus on registrants’ compliance with the SEC’s Regulation SCI and AML rules.  New initiatives for 2017 include an evaluation of money fund compliance with the SEC’s amended rules, which became effective in October 2016.


FINRA – OCIE will continue to conduct inspections of FINRA’s operations and regulatory programs, and assess the examinations of individual B/D’s.


CYBERSECURITY – OCIE will continue to examine for cybersecurity compliance procedures and controls at B/D’s and RIAs, and will test the implementation of those procedures and controls.


The SEC notes that this published list of priorities for 2017 is not exhaustive (and is subject to the whims and directives of the Trump Administration.)