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As predicted in our Connect on Tech discussion in March, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is ramping up its examination and enforcement focus on cybersecurity at financial institutions, including scrutiny on actual implementation and deployment of published procedures in response to discovery of cyber breach incidents. Furthermore, the SEC appears to signal its expectation that multi-factor authentication (“MFA”) for email accounts containing sensitive client and customer information should be in place.

Continuing the practice of issuing Risk Alerts summarizing examination findings, which has only increased under the leadership of the now departing Division of Examinations (EXAMS) Director Pete Driscoll, on 21 July 2021, EXAMS issued such an Alert on fixed income principal and cross trades by investment advisers, a topic that the SEC Staff has been scrutinizing for some time.

On May 6, 2021, SEC Chair Gary Gensler participated in his first Congressional hearing, before the House Committee on Financial Services, joined by Robert Cook, President and CEO of FINRA and Michael C. Bodson, the CEO of The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation. This was the third hearing for the House Financial Services Committee on issues related to the January 2021 market events associated with trading in GameStop; however, Committee members did not limit themselves to the topic at hand.