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SEC (OCIE) Cybersecurity Initiative

The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has issued a National Exam Program Risk Alert entitled ‘OCIE Cybersecurity Initiative’, in which it announced its plans to conduct examinations of more than 50 (of approximately 15,000) registered broker-dealers and investment advisers.

The risk alert does not indicate the nature of the firms that OCIE intends to examine, although it can be expected that the sample may be designed to elicit information about how firms of different sizes and levels of complexity are approaching and addressing cyber-security risks. Accordingly, registered broker-dealers and investment advisers should review the risk alert carefully and begin preparations for dealing with a potential examination by OCIE of their cyber-security defences, whether as part of this initial review or in the future.

The risk alert includes a sample information request list that demonstrates the many categories of detailed information that OCIE will potentially be seeking from the entities being examined. This important and somewhat unusual disclosure by OCIE is, per the risk alert, ‘intended to empower compliance professionals in the industry with questions and tools they can use to assess their firms’ level of preparedness, regardless of whether they are included in OCIE’s examinations’…

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