Each week we are giving you our weekly report highlighting the top compliance news articles from various industry news publications. We have selected the most relevant and important news articles related to registered investment adviser ("RIA") compliance and regulatory issues. This week's recap focuses on RIA in a Box's Communications Archiving and Review product release, a push for Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") action on diversity and ESG disclosures, South Carolina legislation to protect elder financial abuse, and a call for regulation on cryptocurrency.
Here's our top investment adviser compliance articles for the week of July 2nd, 2021:
1. RIA in a Box Rolls Out Communications Archiving Tool (Author – Sam Del Rowe, Financial Advisor IQ)
Sam Del Rowe covers RIA in a Box’s recent product release, which helps RIA firms efficiently archive and review their firm’s communications. The Communications Archiving and Review tool was designed to help firms to comply with the books and records requirements set by SEC rule 204-2. The new solution is accessible through RIA in a Box’s leading MyRIACompliance™ platform, enabling firms to streamline the documentation of their archiving and review activities into their compliance calendar and compliance log. Mike Lubansky, head of product management at RIA in a Box comments on the ease of providing compliance activity logs in pdf format and reproducing specific data for auditors.
2. SEC advisory committee recommends diversity, ESG disclosures (Author – Mark Schoeff Jr., Investment News)
Earlier this week, an advisory committee to the SEC recommended that the agency require diversity disclosures from RIAs and stronger ESG disclosures from public companies and investment products. Mark Schoeff Jr. digs into the details of the recommended diversity and inclusion disclosures and tell readers that they would require RIAs to disclose gender and racial diversity information in their workforce, officer and ownership ranks.
Regarding the proposed ESG disclosure requirements, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler shared the agency is already looking into how asset managers determine funds to be labeled “green” or “sustainable”. Gensler voiced his belief that the “updates to fund disclosures and to naming conventions could bring needed transparency to the asset management industry, particularly in light of the significant growth in the sustainability area.”
3. SEC May Require Fund Managers To Disclose Staff Diversity Data (Author – Bloomberg News, Financial Advisor)
This article covers the SEC setting requirements for diversity data from financial firms. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has addressed the issue publicly and called on staff to consider ways to improve transparency on this matter. Gensler announced the SEC staff is examining how to move forward, and addressed the possibility of having firms disclose their diversity and inclusion practices when selecting other advisers.
4. South Carolina Moves to Stop Elder Financial Abuse (Authors – Janet Levaux, Think Advisor)
New legislation in South Carolina has been established to further protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation. The law will extend the impact of the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (“NASAA”) Model Act, through new measures including allowing firms and financial advisors to acquire assistance from state regulators to review red flags. Janet Levaux tells readers that South Carolina is one of the many states employing additional protection measures for vulnerable residents.
Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed her concerns about insufficient regulation for cryptocurrency, especially when compared to the current regulatory protections in place for the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq. Warren shared a finding from the Federal Trade Commission study, which shows nearly 7,000 cryptocurrency investors reported losses totaling about $80 million in scams alone. The article also points out that SEC Chairman Gary Gensler acknowledged that regulations are needed to protect investors in the digital currency market. The question of whether the SEC will develop new rules for cryptocurrency or will Congress create a completely new agency to oversee digital assets is also brought to readers' attention.
Don't forget to check out last week's top RIA compliance news articles that focus on the growth of the investment adviser industry, cybersecurity priorities and strategies, and cryptocurrency regulation.