Advisers Must Have Strong Insider Trading Controls or Risk SEC Sanctions

Insider trading is a perennial source of SEC enforcement activity. In its 2019 fiscal year, 6 percent of the SEC’s standalone cases involved insider trading. A recent settlement with an investment adviser illustrates that the SEC remains keenly focused on whether advisers’ policies and procedures are reasonably designed to prevent insider trading. In this case, the adviser’s policies allegedly failed to “establish, maintain, and enforce written policies and procedures reasonably designed . . . to prevent the misuse of material nonpublic information.” Specifically, the adviser failed to provide sufficient procedures for considering its business-specific risks or the operation of its restricted list. This article details the adviser’s alleged compliance shortcomings and the other terms of the SEC’s settlement order. See “SEC Annual Report Details Robust Enforcement Efforts, With Continuing Focus on Retail Investors and Cyber Matters” (Jan. 9, 2020); and “HFLR Program Explores Current SEC Examination Practices and Issues (Part Two of Two)” (Jan. 10, 2019).

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