CSS Blog

News, updates and analysis from around the world of compliance

COVID-19 and Compliance – Mitigation Efforts Will Have Compliance Consequences the SEC Soon Will Examine

We understand that COVID-19 has brought many stresses, both personal and professional.  To many private fund advisers, this may seem an appropriate time to allow “compliance” to take a “back-seat.”  However, many business and management decisions your firm now may be contemplating or is already positioned to take likely will have compliance ramifications, now or … Continued

SEC Grants Section 17a No-Action Relief to Open-End Funds

The SEC has taken many actions in the past month to provide relief to registrants and the financial services industry during the COVID-19 national emergency. Another recent action is the relief granted by the SEC to open-end investment companies that are not exchange-traded funds and are not considered money market funds (“Funds”). The relief, granted … Continued

Guidance for State-Registered Advisers Dealing with COVID-19

In addition to the SEC providing relief and support to investment advisers, the North American Securities Administrators’ Association (NASAA) and state regulators have also provided guidance in the form of a very helpful resource page. The page includes information on temporary regulatory relief, as well as updates on the operating status of NASAA members. The … Continued

OCIE Now Conducting Exams Off-Site Unless Necessary

On March 23, 2020, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations posted an announcement on its website that “in light of health and safety concerns and other circumstances, OCIE has moved to conducting examinations off-site through correspondence, unless it is absolutely necessary to be on-site.” Similarly, over recent weeks, CSS has arranged with clients … Continued

CTFC Issues No-Action Letters for Temporary Relief in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

During the last week, the CFTC issued several no-action letters aimed at providing temporary relief from certain recordkeeping, operations requirements, and some reporting deadlines as summarized in the table below. In addition, the CFTC offers a coronavirus-focused webpage, cftc.gov/coronavirus, which includes eight of the nine No-Action letters as well as a Customer Advisory to raise … Continued

SEC Offers Additional Relief for Advisers Impacted by Coronavirus

The SEC has made several COVID-19 related announcements this week pertaining to investment managers that offer relief from routine regulatory obligations. First, the SEC has issued relief in filing due dates and delivery requirements related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the current market conditions. This will extend the reporting deadline 45 days for Forms ADV, … Continued

SFTR Phase 1 Delayed Three Months as ESMA Responds to Industry Requests

The capacity of financial firms to comply with the upcoming go-live of SFTR reporting obligations has been critically compromised by the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. According to The International Securities Lending Association (ISLA) and the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) a delay is now necessary. The two industry bodies sent a joint letter to the European … Continued

Pandemic Puts Business Continuity Planning to the Test; Regulators Take Notice

The rapid expansion of the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused extreme stress if not panic throughout the financial markets, with ripple effects to many if not all financial advisory firms.  Solid Business Continuity Plans (“BCPs”) can help financial advisers stabilize their operations and cope with this dramatic change of circumstances. Here are … Continued

SEC Continues Scrutiny of Private Fund Cross Trades

The SEC continues to scrutinize principal and cross-trade transactions in the private fund world. Are such trades illegal? No. In fact, with sufficient disclosures (and supervisory controls, of course), a private fund adviser can conduct principal and cross trades, which can offer certain benefits to the funds under management. For example, cross trades can be … Continued

Several States Coordinating Regulation Best Interest Pre-Implementation Exam Survey

While the SEC moved full force in adopting Regulation Best Interest and Form CRS, state regulators were fairly silent on what steps they would take pertaining to this topic. It seems the sleeping bear has awoken early this winter with the recent multi-state survey being sent to state-registered investment advisers. Many states are conducting a … Continued

As Form CRS Compliance Date Nears, Approaches to Meet Challenge Coming Into Focus

Form CRS, the sleeping giant, awakens! Investment advisers and broker dealers are turning their attention to planning for Form CRS, training and developing procedures to implement the SEC’s new rule and related interpretive releases. CSS developed Form CRS Automator, a software tool, to streamline the process. It allows teams to quickly produce compliant and accurate … Continued

Key Takeaways from 2020 OCIE Exam Priorities

On January 7, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued its exam priorities for 2020 and reiterated its focus on protecting retail investors, particularly seniors and those saving for retirement. Here are some key takeaways from the exam priorities: Retail Investors OCIE will continue to focus on recommendations and advice provided to … Continued

Pathway to Reg BI Compliance: Have You Started Your Conflict of Interest Assessment?

As the June 30, 2020 compliance date for the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”) draws near, broker-dealers are scrambling to design and implement a comprehensive solution to ensure compliance with Reg BI. In short, Reg BI requires that broker-dealer recommendations be in the retail client’s best interest, creates a broad disclosure obligation, and compels … Continued


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CSS frequently publishes blog posts which are written by our team from their observations in the field, at conferences and through experiences with compliance professionals. These posts are designed to further knowledge and share industry best practices. Topics run the gamut, including Form ADV, cybersecurity, MiFID II, position limit monitoring, technology challenges and more. Complete and submit the brief form below to receive notifications when we publish new content.

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