With Rising Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) Numbers, SEC’s Target 15% Examination Could be at Risk

In 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) examined 16% of RIAs (registered investment advisors). This translates to every sixth RIA being examined, out of about 15,000 in all. Additionally, the SEC believes that in the future this percentage could be even lower, according to an article published in Investment News.

Though a 15% annual coverage of RIAs remains the goal of the SEC, a reduction could be the possible outcome of rapid growth in the number of RIAs, while the number of examiners has stayed constant, as was revealed by an SEC official who was speaking in Washington at a compliance conference of the Investment Adviser Association.

While it is expected that staff of the SEC will be able to return to the workplace effective June, starting in-person examinations right away is not the foremost priority. The article goes on to say that the SEC is expected to soon release its priorities for the examinations, one of which is expected to be that of private funds since the private securities market has grown rapidly in the recent past.

Among other topics discussed at the conference was enforcement, with a mention of a recent sanction against JP Morgan on account of its failure to maintain records of employee communication that took place over WhatsApp and other digital messaging technologies.

Environmental, social, and governance investing was discussed by the panel, as was the recently launched SG enforcement task force of the agency.

Recent sanctions against Wahed Invest were also discussed. Wahed had positioned itself as a provider of investment advisory services compliant with Shariah law, but had not bothered to establish the requisite policies and procedures. It was alleged to have made misleading statements in this regard.

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