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Washington D.C., Dec. 20, 2018 - The Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) today announced its 2019 examination priorities. OCIE publishes its exam priorities annually to promote transparency of its examination program and provide insights into the areas it believes present potentially heightened risk to investors or the integrity of the U.S. capital markets. This year, particular emphasis will be on digital assets, cybersecurity, and matters of importance to retail investors, including fees, expenses, and conflicts of interest.

OCIE is steadfast in its commitment to protect investors, ensure market integrity and support responsible capital formation through risk-focused strategies that improve compliance, prevent fraud, monitor risk, and inform policy. They believe our ongoing efforts to improve risk assessment and maintain an open dialogue with market participants advance these goals to the benefit of investors and the U.S. capital markets.

This year, OCIE's examination priorities are broken down into six categories:

1. compliance and risk at registrants responsible for critical market infrastructure;
2. matters of importance to retail investors, including seniors and those saving for retirement;
3. FINRA and MSRB;
4. digital assets;
5. cybersecurity; and
6. anti-money laundering programs.

The published priorities for 2019 are not exhaustive and will not be the only issues OCIE addresses in its examinations, Risk Alerts, and investor and industry outreach. While the priorities drive OCIE’s examinations, the scope of any examination is determined through a risk-based approach that includes analysis of the registrant’s operations, products offered, and other factors.

The collaborative effort to formulate the annual examination priorities starts with feedback from examination staff, who are uniquely positioned to identify the practices, products, and services that may pose significant risk to investors or the financial markets. OCIE staff also seek advice of the Chairman and Commissioners, staff from other SEC divisions and offices, and the SEC's fellow regulators.

OCIE is responsible for conducting examinations of entities registered with the SEC, including more than 13,200 investment advisers, approximately 10,000 mutual funds and exchange traded funds, roughly 3,800 broker-dealers, about 330 transfer agents, seven active clearing agencies, 21 national securities exchanges, nearly 600 municipal advisors, FINRA, the MSRB, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, among others. The results of OCIE’s examinations are used by the SEC to inform rule-making initiatives, identify and monitor risks, improve industry practices, and pursue misconduct...

Source: SEC.gov

15 January 2019 - Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are one of the most prominent applications of blockchain for finance, allowing for an innovative and inclusive way of financing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Although the lack of regulatory clarity currently exposes ICO participants to some risks, appropriately regulated and supervised ICOs offer a potential new way to raise capital for projects enabled by Distributed Ledger Technologies and the blockchain.

This report analyses the emergence and potential of ICOs as a financing mechanism for start-ups and SMEs, examines the benefits and challenges of this mechanism for small businesses and investors, and discusses the policy implications of ICO activity for the inclusive financing of SMEs and the real economy...

Source: OECD.

Published in INDUSTRY REPORTS

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