OCIE Moves Most Examinations Off-Site, Assures Advisers Reliance on Coronavirus-Related Regulatory Relief Will Not Trigger Exams
March 23, 2020; updated April 1, 2020
The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has issued a statement announcing that because of health, safety, and firm operations disruption concerns, OCIE has moved to conducting examinations off-site through correspondence unless it is “absolutely necessary” for its teams to be on-site. Recognizing that firms are focused on maintaining operations and ensuring the safety of their employees, OCIE is working with registrants on timing, availability of personnel, and other ways to minimize disruption.
The statement also assures advisers that a firm’s reliance on regulatory relief provided by the SEC will not be a risk factor utilized in determining whether OCIE commences an examination. OCIE “encourage[s] registrants to utilize available regulatory relief as needed.”
As IAA Today previously reported, the SEC issued two orders on March 13 providing targeted relief from filing and delivery deadlines for Form ADV and Form PF (The Advisers Act Order) and from in-person board meetings for registered funds and certain other funds relief (The Funds Order). These Orders have since been extended by a New Advisers Act Order and a New Funds Order.
OCIE is conducting outreach to firms to assess the impacts of COVID-19 and to gather information, including with respect to challenges to operational resiliency. In this context, OCIE may discuss firms’ business continuity plans (BCPs) with them. OCIE has assured the IAA that it presently does not intend to issue written requests to firms or to conduct outreach to smaller or mid-sized firms on their BCPs, except in the context of an exam.
Additional IAA Member Resources
A recording of the March 18 IAA call with IAA Associate Member Ropes & Gray to discuss regulatory considerations for firms in addressing a wide range of coronavirus-related issues is here. Members are reminded that the IAA Exchange is also available for members to discuss questions with each other. Additional resources are available on the IAA’s Coronavirus Response Resources web page and updates are in our online newsletter IAA Today.
TAGS: Coronavirus, OCIE