In industry news, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking a budget increase to hire 13 advisor examiners. After a two-year hiring freeze, the agency is looking to hire more personnel to oversee investment advisers.
Regulator Seeking $52 Million Budget Increase
According to the recently released 2019 fiscal budget, the SEC is asking Congress for a $52 million budget boost to create 100 new jobs, including new positions in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) to conduct investment-adviser and investment-company examinations.
The SEC said that additional OCIE advisor examiners are required for the regulator to keep up with the growth of the advisory sector. The agency currently oversees approximately 12,000 registered investment advisers with $70 trillion in assets under management.
According to reports, only 15% of advisors had been examined in FY 2017 and 35% of all advisors have never been examined. The funding request would enable the SEC to have one advisor examiner for every 20 investment advisers.
Budget Increase to Help Regulate Stockbroker Misconduct
The budget request states that additional resources in the OCIE will be put towards “examining practices that represent risks to retail and retirement investors, such as services offered from remote locations and fee structures that create conflicts, as well as examining for indications of churning, reverse churning, unsuitable recommendations, deceptive sales practices, misleading disclosure and elder issues.”
The SEC shifted about 100 broker-dealer examiners to the investment-adviser side of OCIE in 2016 to bolster coverage of advisors.
SEC Also Looks to Increase Enforcement Staff
The SEC also said that a budget increase would add seven positions in the Division of Investment Management and 17 in enforcement. The enforcement positions would staff the agency’s new Retail Strategy Task Force that is zeroing in on hidden fees and other advisor-rule violations.
The expansion also would include four additional personnel devoted to expanding SEC efforts on cybersecurity protections – a hot topic as cryptocurrencies gain traction.
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