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 resource page provides all available updates from states, and links to the various relief notifications. For example, Maine, New Jersey, California and Massachusetts are just a few states that have provided Emergency Notices to address the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Altogether, more than 30 state securities regulators are providing forms of temporary relief, NASAA noted in a recent update.
The resource page also provides updates on the status of the closing of any state regulatory offices. Thankfully, state regulators seem to be transitioning to work from home protocols to alleviate as much disruption as possible. As for state-registered advisers that were in the process of an examination or received a recent notice of an examination from their regulator, you can expect those to continue though via virtual methods. For example, the Alabama Securities Commission noted that “field examiners are conducting streamlined, remote examinations using phone and email correspondence in lieu of traditional on-site examinations during this time.”
If you find yourself in the midst of a state examination while also juggling working remotely and working closely with your clients as they fear recent market fluctuations, it is reasonable to ask the exam team for an extension if you need it. We recommend providing documents on a rolling basis and then seeking any necessary extension only for the materials you need additional time to gather. Finally, if you need assistance with your request letter or responding to a deficiency letter, reach out! The Ascendant compliance services team at CSS have significant experience helping clients through examinations. You don’t need to feel alone, especially during this very challenging time!
Stay healthy and wash your hands!