CSS Blog

News, updates and analysis from around the world of compliance

SEC Adopts Regulation Best Interest, Form CRS; Also Issues Interpretive Releases on IA Fiduciary Duty and Solely Incidental Exception

By a 3-1 vote, on June 5, 2019, the SEC acted to provide a new regulatory framework to help retail, or main street, investors understand the distinctions between broker-dealers and investment advisers, particularly the standards of conduct owed by each. Opening remarks by SEC Chair Jay Clayton noted that as markets have developed over the … Continued

Reorgnization of FINRA’s Examination Program Taking Shape

At FINRA’s recent annual conference in Washington D.C., President and CEO Robert W. Cook and Executive Vice President of Member Supervision Bari Havlik discussed, among other things, FINRA’s ongoing efforts to consolidate its Examination and Risk Monitoring Programs from three separate programs into a single one. The goal of the reorganization is to drive more … Continued

SEC Begins Cyber Sweep of Investment Advisers with Focus on Cloud Storage

A sweep of investment advisers is underway by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which has sent out many letters to firms over the last week requesting information about their use of cloud providers. The move could be part of the SEC’s Phase 3 Cybersecurity Exam Initiative, and is likely related to the April Regulation … Continued

What Happens When Your CRM is Breached?

Even your client relationship management (CRM) software may not be safe from hackers. That’s the lesson some advisers are learning after an announcement by CRM vendor Redtail that it discovered in March 2019 that its cloud-based software had left some sensitive client data publicly accessible. The data left vulnerable included first names, last names, addresses, … Continued

Introduction to SFTR ‘Cheat Sheet’

SFTR is designed to enhance transparency of Securities Finance Transactions (SFTs) for all financial and non-financial EU entities and, branches of non-EU entities. The reporting obligation begins 11 April 2020 for investment firms, followed by a nine-month phased approach for other firms. Need a quick introduction to the key details of the regulation? Download our … Continued

Even When SEC Rulemaking Slows, Your Compliance Manual Shouldn’t Stagnate

Maintaining tailored policies and procedures is a critical component of an adviser’s internal controls. Time and time again, we’ve heard regulators admonish the industry that off-the-shelf compliance manuals just don’t cut it. In today’s ever-shifting regulatory environment, does your compliance manual need a reboot? Although there has not been any significant rule making over the … Continued

Life Cycle Guidance for Service Provider Due Diligence

Engaging third-party service providers to perform key functions can offer an investment adviser access to state-of-the-art technology and solutions necessary to compete in today’s environment. Before entering into service provider relationships, advisers need to understand that while the function may be outsourced, the responsibility for the function still rests with the adviser. Firms engaging service … Continued

Takeaways and Tips Related to SEC Risk Alert on Regulation S-P

On April 16, 2019, the SEC released a Risk Alert providing a list of compliance issues related to Regulation S-P, the primary SEC rule regarding privacy notices and safeguard policies of investment advisers and broker-dealers. As with other risk alerts, these were deficiencies noted by OCIE in regulatory examinations. Though the deficiencies were fairly common … Continued

Refreshing the Annual Review Process to Address Business and Regulatory Risks

Rule 206(4)-7 requires each registered adviser to review its policies and procedures no less frequently than annually, to determine their adequacy and the effectiveness of their implementation. But what’s the best way to approach this review? How are other firms meeting this requirement? At the recent Ascendant Compliance Solutions Strategies 2019 Spring Conference in Miami … Continued

Suggestions on Global Threshold Monitoring

On the heels of several European events focused on shareholder and position limit monitoring, we shifted to Miami, Florida and the Ascendant Compliance Solutions Strategies 2019 Spring Conference for another engaging session on the subject. (For an intro to the topic, see our previous blog post here.) In many ways the discussions proved to be … Continued

AIMA Forum Takeaways: Technology, Innovation and Change

We’re still digesting all the great takeaways from the recent AIMA Global Policy & Regulatory Forum 2019. The theme was “Technology, Innovation, Change,” which is exactly what firms should be focused on this year. In the general session, Jeanette Turner, Chief Regulatory Officer of CSS, led a lively panel on “Technology as a Gamechanger” with … Continued

How to Be a Wildly Effective Compliance Officer

Being a Compliance Officer is no easy task. Administering a compliance program, implementing controls to help protect clients and the firm, and staying on top of new regulations is only part of the job. Compliance Officers are also expected to be flexible and pro-business. So how do you do it all? How can you be … Continued

Mitigating the Risk of Insider Trading

One of the biggest risks affecting investment advisers is the potential that material non-public information (“MNPI”) may be misused, leading to a charge of insider trading. Advisers should implement controls to mitigate these risks. Steven Stone of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, Salvatore Cincinelli of the FBI and David Chaves of Tone at the Top … Continued

Compliance 2.0 – Being a Strategic Partner in Your Firm

Compliance as a profession continues to evolve. With Enron, Bernie Madoff and numerous other failures paving the way for rulemaking across industries and nations, the days of drawing a short straw, getting drafted into a compliance role and operating in isolation outside of the business are – or should be – ancient history. Since the … 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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