Retirement Investments, Advice in SEC Sights for 2017

By ASPPA Net Staff • January 12, 2017 • 0 Comments
Retirement investments and advice are among the examination priorities of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) for 2017, the SEC said on Jan. 12. The OCIE’s priorities reflect a continuing focus on protecting retail investors, says the SEC, including individuals investing for their retirement.

The OCIE’s 2017 examination priorities address issues across a variety of financial institutions, including investment advisers, investment companies, broker-dealers, transfer agents, clearing agencies, private fund advisers, national securities exchanges and municipal advisors.

Several of the OCIE’s 2016 initiatives to assess risks to retail investors seeking information, advice, products and services will continue. The SEC says the OCIE also will undertake examinations to review robo advisors, as well as wrap fee programs in which investors are charged a single bundled fee for advisory and brokerage services.

The OCIE also will continue to focus on public pension advisers and expand its focus on senior investors and individuals investing for retirement. The SEC says that the OCIE is broadening its ReTIRE initiative to include reviews of investment advisers and broker-dealers that offer variable insurance products to investors with retirement accounts as well as those advisers that offer and manage target-date funds. The OCIE will look more specifically at registrants’ interactions with senior investors.

Another focus of OCE activity in 2017 will be electronic investment advice.

An Important Caveat

With the advent of the Trump administration, as with any federal department and agency, the agenda and priorities of the SEC may change. Compounding the uncertainty regarding the course the SEC may take is the fact that SEC Chair Mary Jo White will be departing her post; in addition, her departure will mean that until more commissioners are named, only two of the five commissioner slots will be filled.

To replace White as head of the SEC, President-elect Trump has nominated Sullivan & Cromwell partner Jay Clayton, whom Trump hailed as “a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law” who “will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules.”