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SEC prioritizes market risks for 2015, will continue to review private equity fees

SEC compliance officials will spend 2015 focused on protecting retail investors' retirement savings and assessing market risks, Andrew Bowden said Tuesday.

Mr. Bowden, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's office of compliance inspections and examinations, said on a conference call that examiners will also use data analytics to identify potential illegal activity.

The OCIE will continue to review proxy voting, newly registered investment companies and private equity fees and expenses, Mr. Bowden said.

Priorities are set in consultation with national and regional offices, including the enforcement division, and other regulators. Sharing annual examination priorities promotes compliance and spurs industry participants to independently review their compliance controls, Mr. Bowden said.

OCIE officials will continue to assess marketwide risks and trends among multiple firms or industries, including money managers and clearing agencies, and will scrutinize cybersecurity controls among industry participants.

The focus on retail investors will be on products and services formerly considered alternative or institutional, and advice or products for retirement savings, particularly those that recommend moving away from employer-sponsored plans, “especially when they pose greater risks and/or charge higher fees,” the SEC said in its compliance priority documents.