Following its publication of a Risk Alert in late 2017 detailing findings from examinations of municipal advisers, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) continues to examine municipal advisers in 2018. In 2014, OCIE established the Municipal Advisor Examination Initiative to perform an examination on municipal advisers who recently registered for the first time. OCIE performed over 110 examinations in the course of the Initiative and found that many municipal advisers did not have adequate knowledge of regulatory requirements for municipal advisers. As a result, many municipal advisers were found not to be in adequate compliance with regulatory requirements pertaining to registration, recordkeeping, and supervision. OCIE hoped that in publishing the 2017 Risk Alert, municipal advisers will be compelled to evaluate their policies and procedures to find possible areas for improvement.
Municipal advisers are obligated to register with the SEC pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”). The SEC established its municipal adviser registration rules in September 2013, and the rules became effective in July 2014. The Dodd-Frank Act also established the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (“MSRB”), which exercises regulatory authority over municipal advisers. OCIE’s examinations of municipal advisers covered “compliance with regulatory obligations including registration, statutory fiduciary standard of care, fair dealing, recordkeeping, and supervision, among other things.” OCIE discovered that the most common deficiencies among municipal advisers related to registration, books and records, and supervision requirements. Continue reading