Thursday, December 27, 2018

2019 examination priorities announced by SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations

By R. Jason Howard, J.D.

In order to promote transparency of its examination program and provide insights into the areas it believes present potentially heightened risk to investors or the integrity of the U.S. capital markets, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has announced its 2019 examination priorities.

The examination priorities are broken down into six categories: (1) compliance and risk at registrants responsible for critical market infrastructure; (2) matters of importance to retail investors, including seniors and those saving for retirement; (3) FINRA and MSRB; (4) digital assets; (5) cybersecurity; and (6) anti-money laundering programs.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said, “OCIE continues to thoughtfully approach its examination program, leveraging technology and the SEC staff's industry expertise. As these examination priorities show, OCIE will maintain its focus on critical market infrastructure and Main Street investors in 2019.”

OCIE Director Pete Driscoll said, “OCIE is steadfast in its commitment to protect investors, ensure market integrity and support responsible capital formation through risk-focused strategies that improve compliance, prevent fraud, monitor risk, and inform policy. We believe our ongoing efforts to improve risk assessment and maintain an open dialogue with market participants advance these goals to the benefit of investors and the U.S. capital markets.”

OCIE’s examination results are used by the SEC to inform rule-making initiatives, identify and monitor risks, improve industry practices, and pursue misconduct.