On December 20, 2018, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) published its examination priorities for 2019 (the “2019 Priorities”). OCIE's examination priorities are released annually and are designed to provide a preview of key areas where OCIE intends to focus its limited resources. This year's priorities address the following six themes: (1) retail investors, including seniors and those saving for retirement; (2) registered entities responsible for critical market infrastructure, including clearing agencies, transfer agents, and national securities exchanges; (3) Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (“MSRB”); (4) digital assets; (5) cybersecurity; and (6) anti-money laundering (“AML”) for broker-dealers.
We remind our clients that OCIE's list of priorities is not exhaustive and that many of the focus areas discussed in the 2019 Priorities are also applicable to private fund adviser firms and will sound familiar to them. We highlight below the areas from the 2019 Priorities that may be of particular interest to our clients and briefly summarize the remaining areas.