On January 13, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations’ (OCIE) priorities for 2015 which focus on three areas: protecting retail investors, especially those saving for or in retirement; assessing market-wide risks; and using data analytics to identify signs of potential illegal activity.
The 2015 examination priorities address issues across a variety of financial institutions, including investment advisers, investment companies, broker-dealers, transfer agents, clearing agencies, and national securities exchanges. Of particular interest are the following areas of examination:
Retail Investors – Retail investors are being offered products and services that were formerly characterized as alternative or institutional, including private funds, illiquid investments, and structured products. Additionally, financial services firms are offering a broad array of information, advice, products, and services to help retail investors plan for and live in retirement.
Market-Wide Risks – OCIE will examine for structural risks and trends that involve multiple firms or entire industries, including: monitoring large broker-dealers and asset managers in coordination with the SEC’s policy divisions, conducting annual examinations of clearing agencies as required by the Dodd-Frank Act, assessing cybersecurity controls across a range of industry participants, and examining broker-dealers’ compliance with best execution duties in routing equity order flow.
Data Analytics – OCIE will use its enhanced analytic capabilities to focus on registrants and registered representatives that appear to be potentially engaged in illegal activity. Press Release. Full Report.