Advertising & Marketing Materials Review
Investment Adviser advertising is regulated under the general anti-fraud provision of the Adviser’s Act. The SEC Advertising Rules prohibits the publication, circulation or distribution of any “advertising” that is “false or misleading”. The SEC recognizes that the determination as to whether a given communication is “misleading’ is intrinsically subjective and generally has not provided guidance on this issue. ISCGroup’s industry experience and knowledge of applicable no-action letters enables us to review advertising material and offer guidance as to whether the material constitutes “advertising” as defined by the SEC and whether the SEC would likely find it to be misleading.
Codes of Ethics
The Adviser’s Act requires investment advisers to adopt a code of ethics that sets forth standards of business conduct and requires compliance with federal securities laws. The code of ethics must address personal trading, conflicts of interest, and the safeguarding of material nonpublic information about client transactions. ICSGroup can develop a code of ethics that meets the requirements of the Act and is customized to your business model.
Compliance & Ethics Training Development & Delivery
One of the keys to developing a successful compliance program is to implement a robust compliance training program. An effective on-going training program can help maintain a culture of compliance and provide an opportunity to remind staff of critical areas and educate them about new regulatory requirements and procedures. From new hire compliance training to on-going compliance training for staff, ICSGroup can develop and deliver a training program to help your employees meet their compliance responsibilities.
Compliance Policies & Procedures
The SEC requires firms to document compliance policies and procedures. Documentation of these items help ensure that policies and procedures are being followed consistently within your organization. ICSGroup consultants have operations as well as legal and compliance experience that enables us to develop policies that meet regulatory requirements and procedures that are both efficient and effective at controlling and remediating regulatory deficiencies.
Coordination of SEC Inquiries & Exams
The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) conducts sweeps, regulatory inquiries and exams designed to detect compliance problems and discover weaknesses in firms’ internal controls that may lead to violations of the federal securities laws. ISCGroup keeps abreast of “hot” areas of review by the OCIE and can assist your firm in gathering and reviewing the requested documents. We will work with your team to prepare appropriate response to requests for information and we will be your first line of defense with the SEC.
Development of E-mail & Records Retention Policy & Procedures
Rule 204-2 sets forth the records that investment advisers must maintain, as well as the manner in which such records should be maintained. The Adviser’s Act, requires that Advisers maintain the originals of all written communications received and copies of all written communications relating to the business of providing investment services, including e-mails, sent to any party, including persons who are not clients of the firm. ICSGroup can help you develop and implement a records retention policy that complies with the Advisers Act.
Form ADV Parts I & II
SEC requires that Form ADV be revised to reflect material changes. ICSGroup will review the ADV policy and procedures are effective to ensure compliance. ICSGroup will check Form ADV disclosures against SEC form requirements to make sure disclosures are up-to-date and accurate and the disclosures in ADV Part I are consistent with those in ADV Part II. We will also check client files to ADV Part II was offered to each client in writing at least annually as required.
International Sales Compliance
For those firms that engage in solicitation of funds outside the United States, navigating the various international laws is complex and carries significant penalties for violations. ICSGroup partners with local counsel to ensure that the laws of each country are clear and up-to-date and that your offering is in full compliance with the laws of the specific country.
Regulatory Crisis Management
Despite the most effective Compliance Program, a regulatory issue may still arise. How the issue is handled can make all the difference in terms of the impact to a firm’s reputation. ICSGroup can provide expert guidance as to how best to address the issue and manage communications pertaining to it. From determining whether or not to self-disclose to the SEC to how best to respond to media inquiries and communicating the issue to employees and clients, we will be your trusted partner in navigating your firm’s regulatory crisis and guarding its reputation.
The SEC requires that companies perform a periodic risk assessment of their business to identify compliance and operational risks. Our risk assessments are top-tier quality, in terms of identifying and assessing all of the regulatory and operational risks to are present in your business model and recommending and implementing solutions to remediate those risks.
Third-Party Due Diligence
Investment advisors have a fiduciary obligation to better understand the entities with which it does business. While representations and warranties provided reasonable assurance in the past that service providers’ business practices were in compliance with regulatory standards, recent history has highlighted the need for more thorough due diligence. ICSGroup has developed a Third Party Due Diligence Process to fully assess the business structure and operations of those entities that seek to do business with your firm.