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Compliance Corner

Welcome to Compliance Corner! ICSGroup will bring you monthly updates on regulatory trends and issues affecting investment advisors, particularly the issues that are most relevant to advisors of PE funds. Our goal is to help NAIC member firms develop and implement robust compliance programs that meet regulatory requirements and institutional investor expectations. We hope you find this information helpful and welcome your feedback. – Medina Jett, President, ICSGroup

Best Practices Guide for Marketing Reviews

Best Practices Guide for Marketing Reviews

1. Marketing and Advertising Rules Rule 206(4)-1 (the “Advertising Rule”) under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”) prohibits the use of fraudulent or misleading advertising or marketing material. In order to ensure that marketing materials comply with the Investment Advisors Act’s anti-fraud rules and SEC no-action letters and guidance, investment advisors should have in place strong supervisory and compliance policies and procedures. Because the anti-fraud rules apply to all investment advisors, not just SEC registered advisors, it is important for all investment advisors to implement similar policies and procedures governing marketing materials. Under SEC Rule 156, private…
Best Practices Guide for Solicitation of Investors

Best Practices Guide for Solicitation of Investors

PRIVATE PLACEMENTS Advisors to private funds engage in the solicitation of the private placement of interests in a fund. Interests in private funds are not registered under U.S. or foreign securities laws because of the exemption offered by Rule 506 of Regulation D. Previously, private funds were prohibited by Rule 506 from publicly offering and conducting general advertising or general solicitation in offering and selling the private fund’s securities. In 2014 the JOBS Act directed the SEC to remove the prohibition on general solicitation provided that sales are limited to “accredited investors” that issuers have taken reasonable steps to verify.…
Best Practices Guide for Email Surveillance

Best Practices Guide for Email Surveillance

An important topic in SEC exams has been the application of the SEC’s “Books and Records Rule” to the storage and review of electronic communications by Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs). This Best Practices Guide provides valuable information based on our experience, observations and input from our clients. Emails, and their attachments, fall under the regulatory definition of “written communications” and therefore are subject to the archiving requirements defined within the Books and Records Rule. The SEC requires that all electronic communications be retained and reviewed. The same logic that applies to email surveillance also apply to review of all other…
SEC Risk Alerts Provide a Great “Heads Up”

SEC Risk Alerts Provide a Great “Heads Up”

About our Contributors ICS Group is a regulatory compliance consulting firm specializing in providing compliance support to the financial services and insurance industries. We help our clients comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Our clients include: registered investment advisers, private equity funds, hedge funds, mutual funds, broker-dealers, insurance companies and state pension plans. Our team of highly experienced compliance professionals know from first-hand experience what regulators are looking for, the industry standards that apply, and how to develop and implement cost-effective business-oriented solutions. In addition to the annual publication of its exam priorities, the SEC’s OCIE issues periodic Risk…
Marketing & Advertising Pitfalls: What’s an Investment Adviser to Do?

Marketing & Advertising Pitfalls: What’s an Investment Adviser to Do?

In September 2017, we provided a summary of the SEC’s Advertising Risk Alert noting that the most common deficiencies cited were all related to misleading performance advertising. Now we will look more broadly at the marketing and advertising challenges advisers face and offer guidance on how to avoid common marketing and advertising pitfalls, namely the use of testimonials and endorsements, social media, and performance advertising. Rule 206(4)-1 (the “Testimonial Rule”) explicitly prohibits testimonials and endorsements of any kind. The SEC consistently interprets testimonials to include any statement expressing a client’s experience with an advisor or endorsement of an adviser. Testimonials…
2017 – The Year of SEC Exams

2017 – The Year of SEC Exams

About our Contributors ICS Group is a regulatory compliance consulting firm specializing in providing compliance support to the financial services and insurance industries. We help our clients comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Our clients include: registered investment advisers, private equity funds, hedge funds, mutual funds, broker-dealers, insurance companies and state pension plans. Our team of highly experienced compliance professionals know from first-hand experience what regulators are looking for, the industry standards that apply, and how to develop and implement cost-effective business-oriented solutions. Now that the holidays are behind us and we look forward to a promising new year,…
Amendments to Form ADV are Now Effective

Amendments to Form ADV are Now Effective

About our Contributors ICS Group is a regulatory compliance consulting firm specializing in providing compliance support to the financial services and insurance industries. We help our clients comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Our clients include: registered investment advisers, private equity funds, hedge funds, mutual funds, broker-dealers, insurance companies and state pension plans. Our team of highly experienced compliance professionals know from first-hand experience what regulators are looking for, the industry standards that apply, and how to develop and implement cost-effective business-oriented solutions. The amendments to Form ADV became effective on October 1st. Unless you registered with the SEC…
CABs Now Subject to Pay-To-Play Rules

CABs Now Subject to Pay-To-Play Rules

About our Contributors ICS Group is a regulatory compliance consulting firm specializing in providing compliance support to the financial services and insurance industries. We help our clients comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Our clients include: registered investment advisers, private equity funds, hedge funds, mutual funds, broker-dealers, insurance companies and state pension plans. Our team of highly experienced compliance professionals know from first-hand experience what regulators are looking for, the industry standards that apply, and how to develop and implement cost-effective business-oriented solutions. In August 2016 the SEC approved FINRA rules for a new category of advisers known as…
SEC Issues Advertising Risk Alert

SEC Issues Advertising Risk Alert

About our Contributors ICS Group is a regulatory compliance consulting firm specializing in providing compliance support to the financial services and insurance industries. We help our clients comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Our clients include: registered investment advisers, private equity funds, hedge funds, mutual funds, broker-dealers, insurance companies and state pension plans. Our team of highly experienced compliance professionals know from first-hand experience what regulators are looking for, the industry standards that apply, and how to develop and implement cost-effective business-oriented solutions. In September 2017, the OCIE issued a Risk Alert notifying advisors of the most common deficiencies…
The Rise of Text Messaging for Business Purposes

The Rise of Text Messaging for Business Purposes

Text messaging. We’re all doing it. It’s not only easy to do, but also a highly effective and efficient way to communicate. According to a survey conducted by Smarsh, a firm specializing in cloud-based archiving solutions, text messaging is the most requested channel for business use by employees in financial firms, up over 20 percent from last year. The increasing number of professionals using text messaging for business purposes has caught the attention of regulators and raises compliance and supervision concerns. During 2016 SEC examinations, twenty-one percent of firms examined were required to provide their mobile device communications policy. Drafting…
New Disclosures for Form ADV

New Disclosures for Form ADV

About our Contributors ICS Group is a regulatory compliance consulting firm specializing in providing compliance support to the financial services and insurance industries. We help our clients comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Our clients include: registered investment advisers, private equity funds, hedge funds, mutual funds, broker-dealers, insurance companies and state pension plans. Our team of highly experienced compliance professionals know from first-hand experience what regulators are looking for, the industry standards that apply, and how to develop and implement cost-effective business-oriented solutions. Beginning on October 1, 2017, investment advisers will be expected to comply with the various new…
Preparing for SEC Examinations

Preparing for SEC Examinations

About our Contributors ICS Group is a regulatory compliance consulting firm specializing in providing compliance support to the financial services and insurance industries. We help our clients comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Our clients include: registered investment advisers, private equity funds, hedge funds, mutual funds, broker-dealers, insurance companies and state pension plans. Our team of highly experienced compliance professionals know from first-hand experience what regulators are looking for, the industry standards that apply, and how to develop and implement cost-effective business-oriented solutions. Over the past few months several ICSGroup clients have had their very first SEC examination. We’ve…

Founded in 2008, ICSGroup is a boutique compliance firm that provides regulatory compliance services to registered investment advisors, including advisors to private equity funds, hedge funds and fund of funds, banking institutions and insurance companies. Prior to starting ICSGroup, its founder, Medina Jett, served in senior compliance roles at several large financial services companies where, in spite of good values and a strong ethical culture, compliance was often at odds with business interests.

Medina envisioned an easier way to deliver compliance services. ICSGroup partners with its clients to create risk-appropriate compliance solutions, to integrate compliance procedures seamlessly into business practices, and to create a culture of employee engagement, while meeting regulatory expectations and enhancing investor confidence. ICSGroup is a minority and woman-owned business enterprise with offices in downtown Hartford, CT and downtown Manhattan.

Contact ICS Group

ICSGroup offers a variety of compliance services ranging from a la carte services to fully outsourcing the compliance function.