Electronic signatures have become an important part of advisers’ daily business. While the SEC’s Division of Exams (EXAMS) has not yet published specific guidance on the topic, EXAMS staff have been requesting information on advisers’ use of electronic signatures. In one recent exam, the SEC requested the following information for activities during the exam period:
- A list of documents that the adviser allows clients to sign electronically;
- A list of documents that the adviser allows to be delivered electronically;
- Policies and procedures pertaining to the use of electronic signatures, including (but not limited to) procedures for identity authentication and managing unauthorized changes to client information;
- A summary of the reviews performed on electronic signatures and related information, including review type and frequency;
- A description of authentication procedures and controls, if not already described in policies and procedures;
- Copies of any testing performed on electronic signatures, including compliance testing, internal control analyses, and/or forensic and transactional tests;
- A listing and sample copy of all exception reports;
- Indication of whether each employee is authorized to sign documents on a client’s behalf, and a list of those clients he or she may sign on behalf of; and
- A spreadsheet containing information–including client names, account numbers, authentication information, and IP addresses–for all client documents that were electronically signed.
What does this mean for me?
Significant compliance and operational oversight is expected to ensure these requirements are fulfilled. Fairview will continue to update you with in-depth information about new SEC regulations and how your firm may be affected.
Fairview Investment Services provides comprehensive and ongoing compliance services, including comprehensive marketing and advertising review, solicitation-related consulting, and complete examination support. Contact us today if you have questions or need assistance maintaining your compliance program.