SEC to Host National Compliance Outreach Seminar in April

On February 13, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it is accepting registrations for the National Compliance Outreach Seminar (“National Seminar”).  The National Seminar, which is part of the SEC’s Compliance Outreach Program, is designed to help educate registered investment advisers’ chief compliance officers (“CCOs”), as well as their senior officers, about “various broad topics applicable to larger investment advisory firms and investment companies.”  The National Seminar will take place on April 12, 2018 at the SEC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and it will last from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET.  While only 500 participants can attend in person, a live webcast will be provided via www.sec.gov.

This year the National Seminar will include six panel discussions between SEC personnel, CCOs, and various other industry representatives.  SEC personnel who participate in the panels typically include officers from the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, the Division of Investment Management, and the Division of Enforcement’s Asset Management Unit, as well as officers from other SEC divisions or offices.  CCOs and other senior staff in private advisory firms typically participate in the panels as well.  Each of these panels reflects areas of concern which the SEC likely intends to prioritize in 2018.

The first panel, which is scheduled to take place from 9:10 to 10:20 a.m., will focus on each SEC program’s priorities for the year.  The panel will discuss updates on selected National Exam initiatives, the SEC’s fiscal year 2018 priorities, and updates on selected priorities carried over from fiscal year 2017.

The second panel, which is scheduled to take place from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., will focus on fees and expenses relevant to retail investors.  For example, the panel will examine how the fiduciary standard impacts fee and expenses.  The panel will also discuss disclosing, minimizing, and controlling conflicts of interest relating to allocation and layering of fees.  Finally, the panel will explore the challenges of managing business models that could present a risk of clients paying exorbitant or insufficiently disclosed fees and expenses.

The afternoon sessions will focus on the growing trends in portfolio management, including the growth of new management practices such as portfolio modeling.  FinTech’s effects, such as process automation and big-data analytics, will also be discussed.  Other topics include business continuity, the growth in popularity of initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies, and cybersecurity (including a summary of cybersecurity threats that are currently impacting investment advisers).


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