News – Compliance and Regulatory Alerts

Bates Research, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  07-15-22

SEC Case finding CCO “Aided and Abetted” Raises New Questions; Is a Liability Framework Next?

A recent settlement in an SEC action against an investment adviser and its Chief Compliance Officer is raising questions about determinations that hold CCOs personally liable, absent fraud or obstruction on their part. Both the SEC and FINRA have offered guidance on CCO responsibility concerning effective supervision and compliance, but the recent case is notable for drawing the attention of SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, who responded to it by urging the SEC to adopt a "liability framework" for bringing enforcement actions against CCOs. Here’s what you need to know.

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Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  05-31-22

SEC Proposes Amendments to ESG Disclosure Rules and Forms

The SEC last week issued a proposal to require “registered investment advisers, certain advisers exempt from registration, registered investment companies, and business development companies” to disclose information on environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) investment practices and strategies in fund registration statements, prospectuses, annual reports, and adviser brochures. The 362-page proposal contains new disclosure requirements and would amend numerous Forms for funds and advisers.

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Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  05-05-22

SEC Exams Division Warns Firms to Tighten Up Compliance on the Misuse of Material Non-Public Information

On April 26, 2022, the SEC Division of Examinations urged investment advisers to revisit their compliance policies, practices, and procedures concerning the misuse of non-public information (MNPI). In the Risk Alert, the SEC (i) reviewed the applicable Investment Adviser Act rules and ethical code considerations and (ii) described compliance deficiencies observed by the Division during its recent examinations.

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Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  04-12-22

SEC Proposes New Disclosure Rules on Climate Change

In a broad new rule proposal, the Securities and Exchange Commission would require both domestic and foreign registrants to provide climate-related information in their filings and periodic reports. The deadline for comments is May 20, 2022. Read the full alert for details.

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Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  04-07-22

FINRA Clarifies and Cautions Firms on Potential Supervisory Liability of Chief Compliance Officers

In a reminder to (i) firm management on their supervisory obligations under FINRA Rules, and (ii) Chief Compliance Officers on their potential liability within a firm’s supervisory system, FINRA distinguished between the two in a recent Notice and detailed how it would make liability determinations on an enforcement action against a CCO for a failure to reasonably supervise. Read our Alert for details on FINRA's new guidance on CCO supervisory liability and what it could mean for your firm and clients.

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Bates Research, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  03-30-22

SEC Division of Examinations Announces 2022 Examination Priorities

The SEC Division of Examinations has just released its 2022 examination priorities report, focusing on Private Funds, ESG Investing, Standards of Conduct (including Regulation Best Interest, Fiduciary Duty, and Form CRS), Information Security and Operational Resiliency, and Emerging Technologies and Crypto-Assets. Stay tuned for our annual commentary, coming soon.

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Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  03-30-22

FINRA Proposes Rule to Speed Up Arbitration for Seriously Ill or Elderly Claimants

FINRA has proposed amendments to the Code of Arbitration Procedure to accelerate certain case processing deadlines for seriously ill or elderly parties. Under the proposed rule, parties to the proceeding must request the expedited deadlines.

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Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-28-22

SEC Targets More Firms for Form CRS Failings: Is Your Firm Next?

In a press release touting twelve additional enforcement actions against firms for failing to provide complete information on, file, or deliver Form CRS to retail investors, the SEC announced settlements against six investment advisers and six broker-dealers. That message underscores the agency’s intention to hold firms accountable for making these disclosures. Read our Alert for details on the SEC's findings, the settlements, and what they could mean for your firm and clients.

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Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-09-22

FINRA Releases 2022 Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program

FINRA has announced the publication of the 2022 Report on FINRA's Examination and Risk Monitoring Program. Stay tuned for our annual commentary, coming soon, on FINRA’s 2022 objectives and how they may impact your legal, regulatory and compliance matters.

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Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  12-02-21

SEC Exam Division Issues Alerts on Robo-Advisory Services and IA Fee Calculations Upon Finding Deficiencies

This month, the SEC Division of Examinations issued two alerts based on staff findings from recent examination initiatives. The first concerned advisers that offer automated digital investment services to their clients. The initiative was based on increases in the number of advisers operating, recommending or sponsoring discretionary robo-investment services. The targeted examination revealed widespread disclosure and supervisory deficiencies in these services. The second risk alert was a follow-up to previously issued guidance on fee-related deficiencies, compliance and disclosure issues. This new alert is based on a national exam initiative focusing on the calculation of advisory fees charged to retail clients and the adequacy of fee disclosures.

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