Understanding the SEC’s National Exam Program: Recent Exam Trends and How Fund Managers Can Determine the Type of Exam OCIE Is Conducting (Part Two of Two)

Much has been written about the types of examinations – i.e., routine/risk-based, sweep and cause – that the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) conducts of registered investment advisers. Surprisingly, however, most advisers that are the subject of an exam will not know at the outset what type of exam the SEC is conducting, and in some cases, the adviser will never know. OCIE examiners do not typically disclose this information voluntarily, and if asked, they may refuse to answer. There are hints, however, along the way that chief compliance officers and their counsel can use to make an educated guess into the type of exam OCIE is conducting. While not critical, knowing this information can provide perspective into how the exam may proceed. This second article in our two-part series analyzes the types of exams OCIE conducts, recent trends in examinations, how the risk-based strategy translates into risk-based examinations and ways fund managers can determine the type of exam OCIE is conducting. The first article discussed the steps that the SEC has taken in recent years to increase the number of advisers it examines each year and explored how OCIE’s risk-based strategy informs which advisers are selected for examination. See “Current and Former Regulators Advise Hedge Fund Managers on How to Prepare for SEC Exams” (Feb. 18, 2016). See also our three-part series “What Do Hedge Fund Managers Need to Know to Prepare for, Handle and Survive SEC Examinations?”: Part One (Feb. 3, 2011); Part Two (Feb. 10, 2011); and Part Three (Feb. 18, 2011).

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