Steps All Investment Advisers – and Their Compliance Officers – Should Take in Light of the SEC’s Risk Alert on Outsourced CCOs (Part Two of Two)

The SEC remains keenly concerned with ensuring that hedge fund managers and other regulated firms devote sufficient resources to compliance. See “SEC Chief of Staff Offers Nine Key Considerations for Investment Adviser and Broker-Dealer Compliance Officers” (Oct. 22, 2015). In November 2015, the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations issued a Risk Alert describing its recent “Outsourced CCO Initiative” and highlighting compliance issues observed at firms that outsourced their CCO function. However, all investment advisers, investment companies and their compliance officers – in-house as well as at third parties – can learn from the Risk Alert, using the issues it addresses to enhance their internal compliance programs. In this two-part guest series, Andrew W. Reich, counsel at BakerHostetler, offers guidance on the issues in the Risk Alert applicable to all investment advisers and investment companies as well as their CCOs, along with the application of those issues to their compliance programs. This second article addresses written policies and procedures and suggests steps for firms to enhance their culture of compliance. The first article explored the background that gave rise to the Risk Alert; allocation of resources to compliance; and CCO independence and empowerment. For more on outsourcing CCO responsibilities, see “The Role of Outsourced Compliance Consultants in the Hedge Fund Compliance Ecosystem” (Jun. 27, 2014); and our two-part series on in-house staff at hedge fund managers: “The Value of Legal and Compliance Staff” (Mar. 12, 2015); and “Trends in Legal and Compliance Hiring and Staffing” (Mar. 19, 2015).

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