How SEC, FINRA exams could change under Trump

President Trump’s anti-regulation agenda will yield fewer but more focused SEC and FINRA examinations, compliance experts say.

The past year saw record-breaking levels of enforcement by both regulators. Auditors from FINRA and the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections offer hints each January about their examination priorities, but firms have no way of knowing if they may be targeted, according to Cipperman Compliance Services.

Advisers can keep ahead of the examiners, though, if they ensure their firms’ policies around hot topics like cybersecurity are up to date, executives at the Wayne, Pennsylvania-based consulting firm said Wednesday in a webinar. Though the number of exams is expected to decline overall, firms should not alter their preparations, panelists said.

“Under the current administration, it’s not hidden that he wants to roll back regulations,” said Cipperman COO John Wowak. “With that said, I believe that examinations and policy will be driven by the regulators through the exams.”

The approach will lead to more enforcement actions and penalties against those firms that are hit with exams, he added. Wowak didn't specify how much he thinks exams will decline under Trump.