News Update: SEC Fines 27 Firms for Form CRS Failures

News Update: SEC Fines 27 Firms for Form CRS Failures

Amir Lahoud
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July 29, 2021

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced on July 26th that 21 investment advisers and 6 broker-dealers have agreed to settle charges that they failed to timely file and deliver their client or customer relationship summaries to their retail investors. In the release the SEC’s Director of Enforcement, Gurbir Grewal, notes:

“Today’s cases reinforce the importance of meeting those obligations and providing retail investors with information that is intended to help them understand their relationships with their securities industry professionals.”

The penalties ranged from $10,000 to $97,523. 

The Cost of Non-Compliance

Appropriate implementation, maintenance, and distribution of a two-page document could have saved these firms the hassle and embarrassment of fines and reputational damage. At CRC, we firmly believe that the best compliance program is a proactive one; the fines above demonstrate that regulators agree. 

Our Take

Regulators have continued to display heightened focus on transparent communication and disclosure when interacting with retail investors. Recent examinations of both SEC-registered investment advisers and broker-dealers have shown a sharp emphasis on Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) related policies and procedures, particularly regarding the content and distribution (and subsequent evidence of delivery) of Form CRS. As such, firms should ensure that the Form CRS includes all mandated language and meets formatting requirements as specified by Reg BI. A firm’s compliance policies and procedures should also accurately reflect the processes implicated by Reg BI, including the delivery of Form CRS; firms should consider testing such procedures to ensure efficacy. If you have concerns regarding your firm’s Reg BI policies and procedures, please contact your Compliance Professional at CRC, or contact CRC using the method’s listed below so that we can connect you with a member of our team. 

For more information:

 Mitch Avnet at mavnet@compliance-risk.com  or (646) 346.2468 

Kate Gibbs at kgibbs@compliance-risk.com or (781) 742.4688 

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