As the regulatory landscape is constantly evolving, Compliance Risk Concepts (“CRC”) is issuing its monthly […]
As the regulatory landscape is constantly evolving, Compliance Risk Concepts (“CRC”) is issuing its monthly review and summary of FINRA, SEC, and NFA notices and bulletins to assist our clients in keeping abreast of notable regulatory developments and deadlines in an effort to strengthen their compliance and regulatory initiatives.
Per Notice 22-21, FINRA alerts member firms to a rising trend in the fraudulent transfer of customer accounts through the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS), an automated system administered by the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC), that facilitates the transfer of customer account assets from one firm to another.
This Notice provides an overview of how bad actors effect fraudulent transfers of customer accounts using ACATS (referred to as ACATS fraud), lists several existing regulatory obligations that may apply in connection with ACATS fraud, and provides contact information for reporting the fraud. As FINRA continues to gather additional information related to ACATS fraud, FINRA is committed to providing guidance, updates and other information to help member firms stay informed about the latest developments, and will supplement this Notice, as appropriate.
Per Notice 22-22, FINRA’s Renewal Program supports the collection and disbursement of fees related to the renewal of broker-dealer (BD) and investment adviser (IA) registrations, exempt reporting and notice filings with participating self-regulatory organizations (SRO) and jurisdictions. FINRA communicates information about renewal fees BD and IA firms owe via a Preliminary Statement in November and publishes a Final Statement in January to confirm or reconcile the actual renewal fees BD and IA firms owe after Jan. 1, 2023. Renewal statements reflect all applicable renewal fees assessed for BD and IA firms, branches and individuals.
It is critical that firms ensure that they pay in full by the Preliminary Statement deadline. If payment is late, firms should ensure that the Preliminary Statement is paid in full before the year-end system shutdown. Payments received after the Preliminary Statement deadline for FINRA-registered firms are subject to a late fee.
Important 2023 Renewal Program dates are provided on the Annual Renewal Program and Compliance Calendar pages, including payment and system shutdown deadlines. See the CRD Availability Schedule page for exceptions to regular operating hours for CRD/IARD.
There were no special notices in October.
Per Release No. 34-96034, the SEC is adopting amendments to the recordkeeping rules applicable to broker-dealers, security-based swap dealers, and major security-based swap participants. The amendments modify requirements regarding the maintenance and preservation of electronic records, the use of third-party recordkeeping services to hold records, and the prompt production of records. The SEC also is designating broker-dealer examining authorities as SEC designees for purposes of certain provisions of the broker-dealer record maintenance and preservation rule.
The compliance date for the amendments to 17 CFR 240.17a-4 is six months after publication in the Federal Register. The compliance date for the amendments to 17 CFR 240.18a-6 is twelve months after publication in the Federal Register.
Per Release No. 33-11126, the SEC is adopting a new rule and rule amendments to implement Section 954 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank Act”), which added Section 10D to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”). In accordance with Section 10D of the Exchange Act, the final rules direct the national securities exchanges and associations that list securities to establish listing standards that require each issuer to develop and implement a policy providing for the recovery, in the event of a required accounting restatement, of incentive-based compensation received by current or former executive officers where that compensation is based on the erroneously reported financial information. The listing standards must also require the disclosure of the policy. Additionally, the final rules require a listed issuer to file the policy as an exhibit to its annual report and to include other disclosures in the event a recovery analysis is triggered under the policy.
The amendments are effective 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register.
Per Release No. 33-11125, the SEC is adopting rule and form amendments that require open-end management investment companies to transmit concise and visually engaging annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders that highlight key information that is particularly important for retail investors to assess and monitor their fund investments. Certain information that may be more relevant to financial professionals and investors who desire more in-depth information will no longer appear in funds’ shareholder reports but will be available online, delivered free of charge upon request, and filed on a semi-annual basis on Form N-CSR. The amendments exclude open-end management investment companies from the scope of the current rule that generally permits registered investment companies to satisfy shareholder report transmission requirements by making these reports and other materials available online and providing a notice of that availability. The amendments also require that funds tag their reports to shareholders using the Inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language (“Inline XBRL”) structured data language to provide machine-readable data that retail investors and other market participants may use to more efficiently access and evaluate investments. Finally, the SEC is adopting amendments to the advertising rules for registered investment companies and business development companies to promote more transparent and balanced statements about investment costs.
This rule is effective 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.
Per Release No. 33-11117, due to a technological error, a number of public comments submitted through the SEC internet comment form were not received by the SEC. The majority of the affected comments were submitted in August 2022; however, the technological error is known to have occurred as early as June 2021. All commenters who submitted a public comment to one of the affected comment files through the internet comment form between June 2021 and August 2022 are advised to check the relevant comment file posted on SEC.gov to determine whether their comment was received and posted. If a comment has not been posted, commenters should resubmit that comment by following the instructions provided below. To further ensure that interested persons, including any affected commenters, have the opportunity to comment on the affected releases or to resubmit comments, the SEC is reopening the comment periods for certain SEC rulemaking releases listed in this release.
Per Release No. IA-6176, the SEC is proposing a new rule under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”) to prohibit registered investment advisers (“advisers”) from outsourcing certain services or functions without first meeting minimum requirements. The proposed rule would require advisers to conduct due diligence prior to engaging a service provider to perform certain services or functions. It would further require advisers to periodically monitor the performance and reassess the retention of the service provider in accordance with due diligence requirements to reasonably determine that it is appropriate to continue to outsource those services or functions to that service provider. The SEC is also proposing corresponding amendments to the investment adviser registration form to collect census-type information about the service providers defined in the proposed rule. In addition, the SEC is proposing related amendments to the Advisers Act books and records rule, including a new provision requiring advisers that rely on a third party to make and/or keep books and records to conduct due diligence and monitoring of that third party and obtain certain reasonable assurances that the third party will meet certain standards.
Interim Final Rules
There were no interim final rules in October.
There were no interpretive releases in October.
There were no policy statements in October.
October 31, 2022
Reminder: NFA Member cybersecurity responsibilities
As Cybersecurity Awareness Month comes to a close, NFA reminds Members of their cybersecurity obligations and to remain vigilant online. Given the sensitive nature of customer data that Members possess and the growing risks associated with cyber breaches, NFA continues to consider cybersecurity a top priority and expects Members to do the same.
For information on NFA's cybersecurity requirements, refer to the resources below.
There were no NFA news releases in October.
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Advertising & Solicitation
The compliance deadline for the SEC’s new marketing rule is days away. The single rule that draws from and replaces the previous advertising and cash solicitation rules, Rule 206(4)-1 and Rule 206(4)-3, respectively. The new rule is designed to comprehensively and efficiently regulate advisers’ marketing communications. The new rule also made related amendments to Form ADV, the investment adviser registration form, and Rule 204-2, the books and records rule. The compliance date with the new rule is November 4, 2022.
Investment advisers are encouraged to conduct a comprehensive review their compliance programs related to marketing as well as assess existing communications in advance of the compliance date. Please reach out today to find out how CRC resources and expertise can be leveraged to support your reviews.
Archiving Electronic Communications
The SEC recently fined 16 firms, with penalties totaling over $1.1B due to archiving failures related to electronic communications. Under specific scrutiny is personnel use of texting on personal devices for business-related communications and the use of messaging applications, such as WhatsApp. CRC advises that firms review and address policies and procedures related to the use of personal mobile devices, texting, and other electronic channels to communicate for business purposes. Firms should carefully consider what is permitted under its policies, how such policies are enforced and confirmed, and whether additional solutions need to be built out to ensure appropriate archiving and oversight of such communications.
Regulators continue to demonstrate their commitment to protecting investors by aggressively pursuing bad actors and reviewing and updating regulations to guard investors against constantly evolving threats.
The best approach to regulatory compliance is a proactive one. Staying ahead of the curve by taking note of statements and guidance released by regulators and using them as a barometer to assess the current regulatory climate can help ensure that a firm is prepared for a regulatory exam. Rather than scrambling to rectify issues or meet deadlines, a thorough, active compliance program that considers and incorporates regulatory developments is in a better position to satisfy regulators and preserve operations so they can best serve their clients.
For more information, please contact:
p. (646) 346-2468
p. (917) 568-6470