SEC to Concentrate on Financial Firms Where Management is Not Doing Enough to Promote Compliance

According to Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations director Carlo di Florio, the federal agency will be concentrating “intently” on financial firms with senior management and boards that are failing to set the right tone when it comes to getting behind key control and risk functions to promote compliance. Di Florio addressed his statements to those attending the Compliance Outreach Program for investment companies and investment advisers. Although the gathering was SEC-organized, he noted that the views he was expressing are his own.

The SEC wants boards and management to support compliance-especially as they are responsible for setting a company’s tone and culture. Di Florio said that a chief compliance officer needs the support and involvement of management and the board in order to be effective. He noted that the SEC’s national examination manual has been given to OCIE staff. The manual establishes key standards and policies for the group.

In the last 18 months, the OCIE has undergone restructuring to streamline its processes, set up practices that are being implemented across regional offices, and engaged in greater coordination with other divisions in the SEC. Exams are also now more concentrated on risk.

Other changes include the setting up of a Risk Assessment and Surveillance unit that will identify the financial firms, products, and practices that are the most high-risk. Working groups also have been created in the areas of fixed income products and municipal securities, equity market structure and trading, sales and marketing practices, new and structured products, microcap fraud, and valuation.

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, OCIE has been given greater responsibility over municipal advisors, swap market participants, hedge funds, and other firms. For example, while the SEC has been able to examine the average investment adviser every 11 years, the agency hopes to conduct these exams more frequently so that clients are better protected. SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter, who spoke at the same event as Di Florio, said that commission staff are recommending the setting up of at least one self-regulatory body to oversee registered investment advisers (ideally FINRA would be involved) and making the industry pay “user fees” to fund OCIE examinations.

Our stockbroker fraud lawyers have seen way too many investors lose out because the financial firm they entrusted with their money was not in compliance, committed securities fraud, or was negligent in some other way. We are here to help our clients recoup their losses.

Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD LLP represents investors in arbitration and litigation. We work with clients located throughout the US, as well as some investors living abroad who suffered losses because of a US-based financial firm.

We would be happy to offer you a free consultation to help you determine whether you have a securities fraud claim on your hands.

Speech by SEC Staff: Remarks at the Compliance Outreach Program, SEC, January 31, 2012
SEC: Senior Management and Boards That Fail to Support Compliance Face Most Scrutiny, AdvisorOne, January 31, 2012

More Blog Posts:

Securities and Exchange Commission Charges Investment Adviser with Committing Securities Fraud on Linked In, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, January 6, 2012
Texas Securities Fraud: SEC Charges Life Partners Holdings Inc. in Life Settlement Scam, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, January 4, 2012

Despite Tougher Investigations, SEC is Still Letting Wall Street Firms Avoid Punishments for Financial Fraud, Institutional Investor Scurities Blog, January 29, 2012
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