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OCIE Risk Alert Warns of Six Most Frequent Fee and Expense Compliance Issues

An investment adviser must assess its advisory fee and expense practices to ensure that it is complying with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the rules thereunder and its fiduciary duty. If an adviser fails to adhere to the terms of its advisory agreements and disclosures, or otherwise engages in inappropriate fee billing and expense practices, the SEC may impose sanctions. See “Recent SEC Settlement Reminds Fund Managers to Strictly Adhere to Disclosed Fee and Expense Calculation Methodologies and Fully Disclose Conflicts of Interest” (Nov. 16, 2017). The SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) recently issued a Risk Alert discussing the six most frequent fee- and expense-related issues identified in deficiency letters from more than 1,500 adviser examinations completed in the last two years. This article analyzes OCIE’s findings and provides guidance from a former SEC examiner with expertise in this area. For more on fee and expense allocation practices, see our three-part series: “Practices Fund Managers Should Avoid” (Aug. 25, 2016); “Flawed Disclosures to Avoid” (Sep. 8, 2016); and “Preventing and Remedying Improper Allocations” (Sep. 15, 2016).

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