What’s New: The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) recently issued a Risk Alert titled “Select COVID-19 Compliance Risks and Considerations for Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers” on August 12, 2020. This Risk Alert addressed the following topics:
- protection of investors’ assets
- supervision of personnel
- practices relating to fees, expenses, and financial transactions
- investment fraud
- business continuity
- the protection of investor and other sensitive information
While OCIE’s Risk Alerts all begin with an admonishment that the views expressed therein are those of OCIE staff and that the Risk Alert is not a rule, regulation, or statement of the Commission, registrants should review OCIE’s risk alerts closely, assess them against their business model and practices, and engage in remedial efforts if necessary. Regularly applying this practice will allow firms to strongly position themselves to avoid OCIE referrals to the Division of Enforcement.
Comings: On August 17, 2020, the SEC announced that that Caroline A. Crenshaw had been sworn into office as a SEC commissioner and that, after being reappointed, Hester M. Peirce had been sworn in as well. They were both unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 6, 2020. With Ms. Peirce’s reappointment and Ms. Crenshaw’s appointment, the SEC’s Commission returns to full strength with the full slate of five Commissioners. On August 19, 2020, the SEC named a Deputy Director of the Division of Enforcement, Marc P. Berger, the Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.
Going: On August 14, 2020, SEC Division of Enforcement Co-Director, Steven Peiken, departed from the SEC. That leaves his former Co-Director Stephanie Avakian in charge as the leader of the Division of Enforcement.
With the upcoming presidential election, if there is a change in administrations, as has been historically customary, we can expect the appointment of a new SEC Chair and many more comings and goings of the SEC’s Division and Office leadership.