SEC’s OCIE Issues Risk Alert Regarding Select COVID-19 Compliance Risks and Considerations for Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers

On August 12, the SEC’s OCIE issued a risk alert regarding its observations pertaining to COVID-19-related issues, risks and practices, including market volatility and higher risks of misconduct, relevant to SEC-registered investment advisers and broker-dealers (collectively, Firms). OCIE’s observations and recommendations fall broadly into the following six categories: (1) protection of investors’ assets; (2) supervision of personnel; (3) practices relating to fees, expenses, and financial transactions; (4) investment fraud; (5) business continuity; and (6) the protection of investor and other sensitive information. OCIE noted that it is actively engaged in ongoing outreach and other efforts with SEC registrants to assess the impacts of COVID-19 and to discuss, among many other things, operational resiliency challenges.