Factors Fund Managers Must Consider When Addressing Cryptocurrencies and ICOs in Personal Trading Policies (Part Two of Two)

Rule 204A-1 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 requires registered investment advisers to establish, maintain and enforce codes of ethics that require “access persons” to periodically report their holdings of, and transactions in, “reportable securities.” Unregistered fund managers also frequently adopt similar requirements for their employees. Although Rule 204A-1 is largely devoted to reporting requirements, many advisers go beyond the technical requirements of the rule and adopt more restrictive measures in their personal trading policies. These policies should address any assets in which employees may want to trade, including cryptocurrencies – such as bitcoin, ether or ripple – and initial coin offerings (ICOs). When including cryptocurrencies and ICOs in their personal trading policies, fund managers should consider, among other things, whether to completely ban that trading, what types of restrictions it may impose on employees if that trading is permitted and how to monitor employee trading. This article, the second in our two-part series on the inclusion of cryptocurrencies and ICOs in personal trading policies, explores the factors fund managers must consider when determining how to address these assets in their personal trading policies and examines the challenges in allowing employees to trade in this asset class. The first article analyzed why fund managers need to amend their personal trading policies to address cryptocurrencies and ICOs. For more on issues posed by cryptocurrency investing, see “Unique Security Risks Posed by Cryptocurrency Investing: Steps Fund Managers Must Take to Protect Individuals With Access to Client Assets” (Jun. 28, 2018).

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