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SEC Marketing Rule Continues To Be Top Compliance Concern, Survey Shows

June 30, 2022

For the second year in a row, implementing the SEC’s Marketing Rule for Investment Advisers remains the number one worry for investment adviser compliance officers, according to the 2022 Investment Management Compliance Testing Survey.

Advertising/Marketing was identified by 78 percent of survey respondents as the “hottest” compliance topic – up 20 percentage points from last year. Cybersecurity followed with 67 percent and climate change/ESG climbed to third in compliance officers’ list of hot topics, named by 50 percent of respondents. Other key topics noted align with the SEC exam, enforcement, and rulemaking priorities, to include:

  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Fee Calculation and Billing/Expenses
  • Private Funds Regulation
  • Digital Assets
  • Insider Trading
  • Valuation
  • Electronic Communications Surveillance

Now in its 17th year, the Investment Management Compliance Testing Survey is a joint project of the Investment Adviser Association, ACA Group, and Yuter Compliance Consulting. It is the most comprehensive resource available for identifying the top concerns of investment management compliance professionals and the types of compliance testing practices and strategies investment adviser firms are using to address core compliance topics.

Once again, no survey respondents reported material compliance violations related to BCP/the pandemic this year – evidence of strong compliance programs and effective business continuity plans. With respect to the breakdown of employees teleworking, the findings suggest that the industry is more remote than expected, with only 13 percent of respondents having fully returned to the office. Many firms had some or all personnel working from home (73 percent).

About the Survey Respondents

Compliance professionals at 425 investment adviser firms participated in the survey. All firm sizes were represented – with 21 percent of respondents managing less than $1 billion in assets, 41 percent managing $1 billion to $10 billion, and 37 percent managing more than $10 billion. Close to half (42 percent) of responding firms reported having between 11 and 50 employees, which is consistent with industry data showing that most investment advisers are small- to mid-sized businesses.

Services provided by responding firms spanned the full range of client types, including retail individuals with a typical account size of $1 million or less (35 percent of respondents), private funds (60 percent), ERISA assets/pension consultants (45 percent), institutional clients (58 percent), and high net worth individuals (56 percent).

Full results of the 2022 Investment Management Compliance Testing Survey are available online.

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