Each year, the SEC issues a Press Release signaling its enforcement agenda for the coming year. Although this year’s Release, issued today, likely does not reflect an agenda specifically approved by the incoming administration, it no doubt reflects the intention of the Commission staff and is likely to be pursued in large measure in the upcoming months.
There will be continued effort to protect retail investors from advice provided to them through electronic mechanisms (“robo-advising”), and from overpriced services in the form of wrap fee programs covering both advisory and brokerage services.
There will be continued focus on the manner in which products such as variable insurance products and “target date” funds are offered to senior investors by advisers and brokers. These same advisors and brokers will be subject also to review of cyber-security defenses to protect investor data.
The Commission will continue its oversight of money market fund compliance, and will also inspect the inspectors by assessing the quality of FINRA’s own examinations of broker dealer firms.
Of course, the press release ends with the usual admonition: the list is not exhaustive and may change. Certainly the focus on plain fraud against investors, and the whistle-blower program, will continue to occupy the attention of the Enforcement side of the house in 2017.