The SEC has begun examining investment advisers to evaluate their practices around the use and authentication of electronic signatures. The focus is on ensuring that advisory firms have policies and procedures designed to ensure that electronic signatures are not being exploited to perpetrate fraud that could harm advisory clients.
Among other things, the staff has requested information pertaining to (a) the types of documents that firms allow to be electronically signed; (b) a firm’s procedures for authenticating changes to clients’ contact information (including email addresses); and (c) a firm’s controls addressing how a client is authenticated for electronic signatures and how the firm prevents unauthorized changes to this information.
Advisers utilizing electronic signatures should ensure that their policies and procedures address such issues to minimize the likelihood of identity theft and fraud.
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