CSS Blog

News, updates and analysis from around the world of compliance

Improving Mutual Funds’ Principal Risks Disclosure

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has for years stressed that registrants’ disclosure in regulatory filings needs to be written in “plain English.” The SEC’s Disclosure Review and Accounting Office recently reiterated the plain English directive in “ADI 2019 – 08 – Improving Principal Risks Disclosure.” The guidance focuses specifically on making disclosure of principal risks … Continued

CFTC Orders Firm to Pay $1.5 Million in Connection with Phishing Cyber Breach, Cites Inadequate Cyber Training

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) isn’t holding back when it comes to holding firms accountable for protecting their client’s funds and information. On September 12, 2019, the CFTC issued an order bringing proceedings against a registrant to the tune of $1.5 million US relating to claims that the registrant violated Commission Regulations 166.3 and … Continued

Cayman Islands Data Protection Law Nears Taking Effect

Cybersecurity regulations have landed ashore on the islands, and life is about to become anything but a beach for firms forced to comply with the Cayman Islands’ new Data Protection Law (DPL), slated to take effect September 30, 2019. With provisions largely mirroring the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), entities with a presence or … Continued

SEC Risk Alert Puts Spotlight on Principal Trading, Agency Cross Trades

On September 4, 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued another risk alert, this time on “Investment Adviser Principal and Agency Cross Trading Compliance Issues.” While not wildly informative, the Risk Alert summarizes several issues identified during examinations of the last three years and reminds us of … Continued

SEC Issues Guidance to Investment Advisers on Proxy Voting

At its August 21, 2019 Open Meeting, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) voted 3-2 to issue guidance to assist registered investment advisers (“RIAs”) in carrying out their proxy voting responsibilities. While the guidance didn’t break a lot of new ground, it clarified the SEC’s expectations for investment advisers in voting client proxies and engaging … Continued

Short-Termism, the EU Shareholder Rights Directive, and Their Relevance to Shareholder Disclosure

Recent consultative processes in Europe and the United States reflect the interest being shown by regulators around the world in the problem of “short-termism” in capital markets. Seen by concerned parties as the promotion of an unhealthy obsession with short-term gains, at the expense of long-term allocations that would ultimately provide greater benefits to companies, … Continued

Effective Compliance Policies & Procedures and Annual Reviews: Meeting the Reasonably Designed Standards

Sometimes it seems that enough is never really enough. While compliance officers have grown intimately familiar with SEC Rule 206(4)-7 over the past 15 years since the Rule became effective, deficiencies in connection with the Compliance Program Rule continue to rank among the most frequently cited issues identified in OCIE examinations of investment advisers. It … Continued

Form CRS and Its Impact on State-Registered Advisers

While many investment advisers are starting to plan for Form CRS/Form ADV Part 3, one group of investment advisers can breathe a sigh of relief that this is a project that does not need to be on their ‘To Do’ list. As of now, no state regulator has adopted this disclosure document for state-registered advisers. … Continued

7 Reasons to Attend Our Scottsdale Fall 2019 Compliance Conference

If you’ve been considering joining us in Scottsdale for our Sept. 23-25 compliance event, here are seven reasons you should take the plunge now! The Best Mix of Informational & Educational Speakers – We just added OCIE’s Co-National Associate Director of Investment Adviser/Investment Company Examination Program Marshall Gandy to our stellar list of presenters. He joins ex-NFL star Merril … Continued

Refocusing on Position Limit Monitoring & Substantial Shareholding

In recent months, we have begun to offer roundtable events focusing on important, evolving topics within the compliance world. These breakfast briefings are designed to be collaborative exchanges, and our recent two-part series addressed challenges posed by position limits and substantial shareholding. A select and diverse group of investment managers were invited to each session, … Continued

Serious Security Flaw Discovered in Three Widely Used VPNs – Update Now!

Virtual Private Networks (“VPNs”) are a secure way for employees to access firm files remotely, whether working from a home office or while travelling. They work by creating an encrypted connection from a laptop or PC to a firm’s server and allowing users to securely access and transfer files while out of the office. Access … Continued

The Challenges of Compliance for State-Registered Advisers

Are you the designated chief compliance officer of a state-registered investment advisory firm? If so, you must be clocking many extra hours these days! It seems the state regulators are just as busy as the Securities and Exchange Commission. New Jersey, Massachusetts and Nevada have all introduced their own Fiduciary duty standard rules. The North … Continued

How Can a Small Advisory Practice Economically Be as Cyber-Secure as Possible?

Cybersecurity is a risk that applies to firms both large and small without discrimination. Even very small advisory firms, which I’ll define as having one to five staff for purposes of this discussion, have a wealth of information worth safeguarding. Cybercrime is often a crime of opportunity. Hackers are metaphorically going door to door (computer … 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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