Articles Tagged with Code of Ethics

On April 26, 2022, the Division of Examinations of the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Risk Alert titled Investment Adviser MNPI Compliance Issues. The Alert identifies compliance issues relating to material non-public information – sometimes called “insider information” – and provides guidance to investment advisers, investors, and other market participants on complying with Section 204A of the Investment Advisers Act and corresponding Rule 204A-1.  

Section 204A of the Advisers Act requires investment advisers to establish, maintain, and enforce written policies and procedures designed to prevent the misuse of material non-public information (“MNPI”). Rule 204A-1 requires investment advisers registered under the Advisers Act to adopt a Code of Ethics. 

The Division identified three categories of compliance issues related to Section 240A of the Advisers Act. First, the Division observed that advisers have not adopted or implemented adequate policies and procedures to address the risk of receipt and use of data from non-traditional sources (“alternative data”), such as social media and internet search data. Second, the Division observed that advisers have not adopted or implemented adequate policies and procedures regarding investors who are likely to possess insider information, such as corporate investors or financial professional investors. Third and finally, the Division observed that advisers did not have adequate policies and procedures regarding possible interactions with consultants who might have access to insider information. 

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At this time of year, it is important for registered investment advisers to assure that they are in compliance with federal and/or state rules requiring them to monitor their supervised persons’ security holdings and transactions for compliance with the firm’s code of ethics. Even seasoned compliance professionals will encounter questions regarding application of the rule from time to time. While this article is no substitute for a detailed analysis of the rule and its application to a specific firm and its supervised persons, an overview of the rule may be helpful.

As background, all SEC-registered investment advisers are required to adopt a Code of Ethics, which must describe the standards of conduct expected for representatives of the firm and address conflicts that arise from personal trading by advisory personnel. This federal requirement, which governs SEC-registered advisers only, derives from SEC Rule 204A-1, which took effect in 2005. Since then, many state securities administrators have adopted identical or similar requirements, either by adopting SEC Rule 204A-1 “by reference”—i.e., verbatim—into state law, or by crafting similar “me too” provisions. Accordingly, if your firm is SEC-registered, it will be bound by Rule 204A-1; but, if your firm is currently a state-registered adviser, it may be bound by the same or similar requirements. Continue reading ›

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