Header graphic for print
The BD/IA Regulator Providing securities regulatory, enforcement and litigation trends for broker-dealers, investment advisers and investment funds

Category Archives: SEC Enforcement

Subscribe to SEC Enforcement RSS Feed

SEC Announces Settlements Resulting from the Share Class Selection Initiative

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

On March 11, 2019, the SEC announced settlements with 79 investment advisers who self-reported violations of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”) in connection with the Division of Enforcement’s Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative (the “Share Class Initiative”). The advisers, collectively, agreed to return more than $125 million in fees and prejudgment interest… Read More

The SEC Continues to Spread Sunshine on Private Equity: Reflections on Two Recent Enforcement Actions

Posted in Fund Regulation, SEC Enforcement

The end of 2018 was notable for two SEC enforcement actions against private equity fund managers for violations of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 arising from improper allocations of expenses, undisclosed conflicts of interest, and insufficient compliance policies and procedures.  The two actions demonstrate the SEC’s continued focus on private equity fund managers’ use… Read More

OCIE Publishes 2019 Enforcement Priorities

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Fund Regulation, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) published its 2019 examination priorities on December 20, 2018. Although OCIE’s published priorities “provide a preview of key areas where OCIE intends to focus its limited resources,” registrants should be aware that OCIE will proactively seek insight into evolving markets “including changes in risks to markets and… Read More

First SEC Enforcement Action Against Unregistered Digital Token Exchange

Posted in Enforcement, SEC Enforcement

Until yesterday, the enforcement actions of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the digital token (aka cryptocurrency) space have primarily focused on the primary issuances of tokens. However, on November 8, 2018, the SEC announced in an order (the “Order”) that it had settled charges against Zachary Coburn, the founder of the digital token… Read More

SEC Staff Allows Fund Boards to Rely on CCO Reports

Posted in Enforcement, SEC Enforcement

On October 12, 2018, the staff of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management issued a no-action letter to the Independent Directors Council (“IDC”) agreeing that the staff will not recommend enforcement if, in lieu of making certain determinations under Rule 10f-3, 17a-7 and 17e-1 (the “Exemptive Rules”) under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act”),… Read More

SEC Sanctions Adviser and Portfolio Manager for Improper Cross Trades and Failure to Seek Best Execution

Posted in Enforcement, SEC Enforcement

In a recently settled enforcement matter, the SEC imposed a $1 million penalty on an investment adviser based on findings that the adviser violated the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”) and caused violations of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Investment Company Act”). The charges stemmed from inappropriate cross trading and the… Read More

Broker-Dealer Settles Record Keeping Charges for $1.25 Million

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, SEC Enforcement

On July 17, 2018, the SEC announced that it had entered into a settlement with a broker-dealer charged with failure to preserve certain records and inaccurately recording travel, entertainment, and other expenses. The broker-dealer agreed to pay a $1.25 million penalty to settle the charges. The SEC found that after receiving document requests from the SEC’s… Read More

SEC Brings 13 Settled Enforcement Proceedings for Failure to File Form PF

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

On June 1, 2018 the SEC announced that it entered into settled enforcement proceedings with 13 registered investment advisers. According to the settled orders, the advisers failed to file and update Form PF over multi-year periods, in violation of Rule 204(b)-1 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  Each of the advisers agreed to a… Read More

Enforcement Issues FAQs on the Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative

Posted in Enforcement, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

On May 1, the SEC’s Division of Enforcement issued a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to its Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative (“SCSD Initiative”). The SCSD Initiative, which was originally announced February 12, 2018, provides that the Enforcement Division will agree to recommend to the Commission standardized, favorable settlement terms for investment advisers who… Read More

OCIE Risk Alert Identifies Key Advisory Fee and Expense Compliance Issues

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations this week provided investment advisers with a summary of frequent compliance issues related to advisory fees and expenses that the staff is seeing in their examinations of registered investment advisers. The Risk Alert, published April 12, 2018, is the latest in a series of similar alerts published… Read More

SEC Releases Liquidity Rule FAQs

Posted in Fund Regulation, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

The staff of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management released this week a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding new Rule 22e-4 (the “Liquidity Rule”). The Liquidity Rule requires non-money market mutual funds and certain exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to adopt and implement a liquidity risk management (LRM) program designed to reduce the risk that… Read More

SEC Enforcement Division Announces its 2018 Priorities and 2017 Results

Posted in SEC Enforcement

Introduction The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement (the “Division”) has published its annual report for fiscal year 2017 (the “Report”). The Report is available at the following link: https://www.sec.gov/files/enforcement-annual-report-2017.pdf. The Report discusses the Division’s key initiatives and results in 2017[1] and its priorities for 2018. Below, we discuss a number of areas that may… Read More

SEC Chairman Clayton Addresses Senate Committee

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

On September 26, 2017, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton delivered to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs his first testimony as Chairman.  A copy of his prepared remarks may be found here. Mr. Clayton’s testimony was fairly broad in scope, covering a variety of issues of concern to the Committee, from the… Read More

NASAA Survey Finds Seniors Are Most Vulnerable to Financial Fraud

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, FINRA Enforcement, SEC Enforcement

On August 21, 2017, the North American Securities Administrators Association (“NASAA”) released a survey on senior citizens and financial exploitation. The survey of the state securities regulators highlighted, among other things, the need for the securities regulators to take a stronger role in prevention and detection. The survey was conducted internally among NASAA’s membership of… Read More

Division of Investment Management Eases Compliance Deadline for New ADV Filing Requirement

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

Currently pending amendments to Form ADV have a compliance date of October 1, 2017 and, as of that date, an adviser filing an initial Form ADV or an amendment to an existing Form ADV must use the revised Form ADV. In an August 2017 “Information Update,” the staff of the Division of Investment Management gave… Read More

SEC Grants Limited Relief from the Custody Rule for Advisers Relying on Clients’ Standing Letters of Instruction

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

In a letter to the Investment Adviser Association (IAA), the Staff of the Division of Investment Management said that investment advisers acting pursuant to a standing letter of instruction or other similar asset transfer authorization (SLOA) established by a client with a qualified custodian would be deemed to have custody of client assets for purposes… Read More

Enforcement Focus on Advisers’ “Cherry-Picking” Continues

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

The SEC banned the managing member and chief compliance officer of a registered investment adviser from the securities industry for illegal “cherry-picking” investments among the adviser’s managed accounts.  The SEC staff uncovered the trades through data analysis used to detect suspicious trading patterns. The SEC filed a complaint in federal district court in the District… Read More

Former New York Pension Official and Two Broker-Dealers Charged In Pay-To-Play Scheme

Posted in SEC Enforcement

On December 21, 2016, the SEC charged the former Director of Fixed Income for the New York State Common Retirement Fund (the “NYSCRF”) with allegedly steering billions of dollars of NYSCRF assets to two broker-dealers in exchange for hotel room stays, restaurant outings, jewelry, concert tickets and vacations.  In total, according to the SEC, the… Read More

The SEC and FINRA Preview 2017 Enforcement Priorities at SIFMA’s C&L New York Regional Seminar

Posted in Cybersecurity/Privacy, FINRA Enforcement, SEC Enforcement

On November 2, 2016, several representatives from the SEC and FINRA spoke at SIFMA’s C&L New York Regional Seminar, including from the SEC, Stephanie Avakian, Deputy Director, Division of Enforcement, and from FINRA, Susan Axelrod, Executive Vice President, Regulatory Operations, and Susan Schroeder, Senior Vice President, Enforcement.  At a general session on enforcement during the… Read More

SEC FY 2016: A Record Year for Enforcement Cases Against Funds and Advisers

Posted in SEC Enforcement

On October 11, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it prosecuted a record number of enforcement cases against investment advisers and investment companies in the fiscal year ended September 30, 2016. During this period, the SEC brought a record-breaking 868 enforcement actions against companies and their executives and gatekeepers for alleged misconduct. Of this… Read More

Are Your Customer Accounts in Order? SEC Announces Sweep of Broker-Dealers and Implementation of the Customer Protection Rule Initiative

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, SEC Enforcement

On June 23, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced that it would begin a coordinated effort across divisions to identify potential violations by broker-dealers of Rule 15c3-3 (the “Rule”) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). As part of this effort, also known as the Customer Protection… Read More

Double-Check the Math: Advisers Should Not Provide Clients With Performance Data Created by Other Investment Managers Without Verifying the Information

Posted in Investment Adviser Regulation, SEC Enforcement

In a series of enforcement actions this week, the SEC made it clear that investment advisers need to substantiate the performance records of investment management firms they recommend to their clients.  In these cases, failure to do so resulted in charges of spreading “false and misleading information” in violation of Section 206 of the Advisers… Read More