How Does the SEC Approach Custody Issues in the Course of Examinations of Hedge Fund Managers?

The SEC intensified its scrutiny of custody issues following a number of high-profile scandals involving investment advisers. As a result, it is spending more time reviewing custody issues during examinations of registered investment advisers (RIAs), including hedge fund managers. In a 2012 Commission session entitled “Safety and Soundness of Client Assets/Custody” (Session), the SEC discussed the impact of Rule 206(4)‑2 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (Custody Rule) on RIAs, such as hedge fund managers. The Session began with a discussion of the Custody Rule’s requirements, including a discussion of its 2009 amendments. See “How Should Hedge Fund Managers Revise Their Compliance Policies and Procedures in Light of Amendments to the Custody Rule?” (Jan. 20, 2010). The Session also explained what an investment adviser should expect with respect to the review of custody issues during an SEC examination and how to prepare for custody reviews in the course of an examination. This article discusses the foregoing topics and the other key takeaways from the Session. See “SEC No‑Action Letter Eliminates Surprise Examination Requirement Under Custody Rule for Certain Sub-Advisers” (May 19, 2016); and “Repeat Custody Rule Offenders Face Severe SEC Sanctions” (Dec. 10, 2015).

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