Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 9:29 EDT

SEC Reinforces Examination Hot-Button Issues and Technology Focus at Ascendant Compliance Conference

April 15, 2013

NAPLES, Fla., April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Against the backdrop of ever-increasing regulatory demands to control enterprise risks, how can compliance officers obtain assurances that their firms are adequately prepared? Eric Bustillo, Director of the Miami Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission, provided guidance during the keynote speech at Ascendant Compliance Management, Inc.’s national compliance conference, “Advisor Compliance and Regulations with Technology Initiatives” at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Florida, held April 8-10, 2013.

Director Bustillo’s insights provided a roadmap for investment advisers to navigate the agency’s examination focus areas for 2013. He emphatically reinforced the SEC’s 2013 National Examination Program (NEP) priorities, including:

  • Fraud detection and prevention;
  • Corporate governance, as the SEC seeks access to members of senior management capable of explaining the firm’s compliance, operation, technology, and reputational risks, and to better inform SEC examiners’ understanding of the firm’s compliance culture;
  • Conflicts of interest that are inadequately addressed or mitigated, or which are insufficiently disclosed to investors; and
  • Technology risks due to the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of systems, and the impacts of system security and data integrity compromises to a firm’s operational capabilities and reputation.

Ascendant’s Compliance Conference was engineered for maximum SEC examination results, and took an innovative approach by framing the conference around the context of a mock examination of an investment advisory firm. “As the Chief Compliance Officer of the advisory firm around which the conference conducted its mock examination, I faced first-hand the challenges for compliance officers. But I know coming out of the conference that we all had a great experience to help us develop strong compliance programs,” reflected Ascendant Compliance Management Partner Keith Marks. “In addition to our panels of experts, the Ascendant Discussion Groups, Roundtables and conference structure provided for broad networking and information sharing,” he added.

Director Bustillo emphasized the need to review new products, new technology, new business processes, and the application of previously adopted rules to new contexts when assessing a firm’s risks. He highlighted the goal of the SEC’s coordinated national examination program to have a meaningful presence for the approximately 2,000 new registrants (including hedge funds and private equity firms) over a two year period. The exam findings from these presence exams are planned to be reported back to industry.

Other panels of industry experts, investment professionals, and former regulators at the conference echoed the emphasis Director Bustillo placed on enterprise risk, providing strong corroboration that the SEC is focusing not only on compliance risk, but on a broad array of risks that impact investment advisers.

Joining Director Bustillo in providing industry guidance to help conference attendees assess their preparation for an SEC examination were notable speakers including Paula Drake (Chief Counsel, Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer, OCIE, SEC), John Walsh (Partner, Sutherland Financial Services Group and former Associate Director/ Chief Counsel of OCIE, SEC), Bob Dannhauser (Head Standards of Practice and Outreach, CFA Institute), Robert Plaze (Former Deputy Director, Division of Investment Management, SEC), Marianne Smythe, David Porteous (Partner, Ulmer & Berne, LLC) and Ascendant consultants.

The implementation of Dodd-Frank, the SEC’s additional rule-making response to financial fraud, and the focus on enterprise risk management (ERM) present investment managers with more and greater challenges each day. Ascendant and industry experts come together to help firms find the most effective resources to cultivate a culture of compliance. Ascendant conferences continue to offer the most up-to-date guidance and real-time access to the top regulatory authorities as well as compliance solutions that can be implemented in day-to-day operations.

Ascendant’s next conference will take place at the Meritage Resort in Napa, California, September 25-27, 2013. For more information and to register visit http://www.ascendantcompliance.com/acm/currentconference.

About Ascendant:

Ascendant Compliance Management is located in Salisbury, CT, with offices in New York City and San Francisco, CA. Ascendant offers integrated compliance and business solutions for investment advisers, broker dealers, and hedge and private equity funds and provides educational conferences and online training. For more information on Ascendant’s services, such as annual reviews, compliance or IT risk assessments, etc., or to sign up for email alerts or the free ComplianceCasts Minute podcast series, please visit their website at www.ascendantcompliance.com or call 860-435-2255.

About Ascendant Conferences + Education:

Ascendant Compliance Management’s Conferences + Education team is dedicated to the advancement of compliance professionals in the investment management industry. The interactive approach follows all of the latest trends in SEC examinations, risk assessments, insider trading, social media networks, compliance automation, ethics and fiduciary duty among other topics. The goal of the program is to equip compliance professionals with the necessary tools for developing and maintaining the highest standards of business practice management. For more information please visit www.ascendantcompliance.com.

CONTACT: Melissa Maleri, +1-860-435-2255

SOURCE Ascendant Compliance Management

Source: PR Newswire