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U.S. SEC’s OCIE includes digital assets in 2020 Examination Priorities

Wed, 08 Jan 2020, 05:44 am UTC

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to place particular emphasis on digital assets.

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has announced its 2020 examination priorities, which include financial technology (fintech) and innovation, including digital assets and electronic investment advice, among other things.

“OCIE’s 2020 examination priorities identify key areas of risk, both existing and emerging, that we expect self-regulatory organizations (SROs), clearing firms, investment advisers and other market participants to identify and mitigate. I applaud OCIE’s thoughtful, strategic and efficient focus, which is critical to the fulfillment of the SEC’s mission and our service to Main Street investors,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

Every year, OCIE publishes its examination priorities with the objective of improving the transparency of its examination program and providing insights into its risk-based approach, including the areas that present potential risks to investors and the integrity of the U.S. capital markets.

OCIE said that the advancements in financial technologies, methods of capital formation and market structures, as well as registered firms’ use of new sources of data warrant ongoing attention and review.

“OCIE also will continue to identify and examine SEC-registered firms engaged in the digital asset space, as well as RIAs that provide services to clients through automated investment tools and platforms, often referred to as “robo-advisers”,” it added.

Digital assets were included in the 2019 examination priorities as well. At that time, the regulator had said that OCIE will work towards identifying market participants offering, selling, trading, and managing these products or considering or actively seeking to offer these products and then assess the extent of their activities.

Last month, the SEC postponed its decision about the proposed U.S. Treasury bond exchange-traded fund (ETF) by Wilshire Phoenix to Feb. 26.

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