Category Archives: Compliance

Conflicts of Interest — Is Disclosure Enough?

Don’t assume you can disclose away all conflicts of interest – that’s the latest warning and reminder from the SEC to investment advisers and broker-dealers from a recently-published staff bulletin.

As a reminder, an SEC-registered adviser owes clients a fiduciary duty of loyalty to eliminate a conflict of interest or, at a minimum, make full and fair disclosure of the conflict of interest such that a client can provide informed consent to the conflict.

In the bulletin, the staff pointed out several circumstances where conflicts must be eliminated and not merely disclosed. For example, the staff believes that eliminating a conflict is appropriate where the conflict is of a nature and extent that it would be difficult for the adviser to provide full and fair disclosure, and the investment adviser cannot mitigate the conflict such that full and fair disclosure and informed consent are possible.

Read more here.

SEC/CFTC Jointly Proposed Rule Regarding Form PF and Digital Assets

Signaling its increasing scrutiny on investment advisers managing crypto assets, the SEC and CFTC recently jointly proposed a rule that would require private fund managers who are required to file Form PF to report information on digital asset investments held by their private funds.

The release defines a “digital asset” as an asset that is issued or transferred using distributed ledger or blockchain technology including, but not limited to, virtual currencies, coins, and tokens.

Among other things, reporting managers would need to provide a good faith estimate of the percentage of the reporting fund’s net asset value invested in digital assets as well as the dollar value of long and short positions in digital assets.

Read more here.

SEC’s IM Division announces it will allow Oct. 26, 2017 SIFMA no-action letter to expire on July 3, 2023

From Morgan Lewis’ LawFlash, the SEC’s division of Investment Management’s announcement that it would allow its October 26, 2017 no-action letter to SIFMA to expire on July 23, 2023 “pulls the rug out from under ‘Hard Dollar’ research arrangements,” and raises questions about the possible investment adviser status of broker-dealers that, after that date, accept cash or “hard dollar” payments for research from investment managers subject to the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II.

Read more here.

Recent SEC Settlement Suggests CCOs Have Target on Their Backs

From Brian Rubin and Adam Pollet in Corporate Compliance Insights:

The SEC’s prosecution of chief compliance officers remains a fraught and controversial topic. A recent SEC enforcement settlement with a CCO and a registered investment adviser could raise even more questions about the role of CCOs and what standards the SEC uses in sanctioning them.

Read why here.

Proposed bipartisan legislation aims to clarify the crypto regulatory landscape

New, sweeping bipartisan legislation proposes to define the contours of regulating digital assets and the crypto industry. Among other things, the bill:

  • Gives the CFTC primary jurisdiction over digital assets and exchanges, limiting the SEC’s ability to regulate the industry;
  • Calls for federal and state cooperation in monitoring and regulating the various aspects of the industry, including tax and money transmitter issues; and

Includes a number of measures designed to address cybersecurity and ESG concerns.

Read more here.