Are Hedge Fund Managers Heeding the Message? Information Request List Provides Insight Into SEC Expectations on the Use of Electronic Communications by Advisers and Employees (Part Two of Three)

Investment advisers frequently use SEC document request lists – either released by the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) or disseminated by examinees or third parties – to test their ability to efficiently produce documents that may be requested during an actual SEC examination. A document entitled “Information Request List” (Request List), rumored as being used by the SEC to request records in connection with adviser examinations focused on the use of electronic communications by advisers and their employees, has made its way into the public domain. Despite a lack of official confirmation, industry experts that routinely assist clients with SEC examinations agree that the Request List’s substance and form closely resemble those of information requests routinely sent by OCIE. This second article in our three-part series explores the various components of the Request List and analyzes the implications and consequences of certain requests therein. The first article provided background on sweep exams, with particular focus on the putative electronic messaging examination and the potential drivers of SEC focus in this area. The third article will examine best practices for advisers when designing their electronic communications policies, taking into account the items requested in the Request List, as well as how advisers can proactively prepare for future scrutiny in this area. For more on preparing for SEC examinations, see “Mock Audits Are Essential Preparatory Tools for Fund Principals in the Current Regulatory Environment” (Sep. 28, 2017); and “What Hedge Fund Managers Can Expect From SEC Remote Examinations (Part One of Two)” (May 2, 2016).

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