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Mitigation of Investment Adviser Business Interruption and Regulatory Non-Compliance Risks Related to COVID-19

We urge our clients to consult Pillsbury’s comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Center for information regarding Responding to a Global Crisis, Business Interruption, Cybersecurity, Employer Concerns and other general matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also recommend the following specific measures to mitigate risks of business interruption and regulatory noncompliance resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Registered Investment Advisers

Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) and Vendor Management. As part of its fiduciary duty to clients, a registered investment adviser is required to adopt and implement BCPs to reduce risks that could result in business interruption. Accordingly, in anticipation of the potential spread of COVID-19, many investment advisers have activated portions of their business continuity and crisis management plans, including, for example, through teleworking. As part of implementing BCPs, investment advisers should review third-party vendor contracts and outsourcing relationships in order to be prepared for disruptions that may affect them through back doors. Cloud-based services and other technology also should be reviewed and tested in light of increased demand for access arising out of teleworking. Communications with brokers and custodians should be reviewed to minimize the risk of communication and reporting failures that could harm clients.

Filing Extensions for Investment Adviser Regulatory Reporting. The SEC issued emergency orders on March 13, 2020, providing temporary relief to investment advisers and investment companies from certain filing, disclosure delivery and governance requirements (e.g., Form ADV, 13G, CPO-PQR). Each form of relief was conditioned on actual COVID-19-related hardships and requires notice to the SEC’s Division of Investment Management of reliance on such relief and the reasons for reliance. The SEC issued modified conditional orders on March 25, 2020 that provide investment advisers and certain investment funds additional time with respect to meeting certain filing and delivery requirements and holding in-person board meetings, if they are unable to meet the deadlines due to circumstances related to current or potential effects of COVID-19.  The new orders supersede the SEC’s original emergency orders issued on March 13, 2020, and extend the time period covered by the temporary exemptive relief until June 30, 2020.

An adviser’s applicable filing and delivery obligations under the relief must be satisfied no later than 45 days after the original due date for filing or delivery (as was provided in the original exemptive order); however, the new order generally makes the temporary exemptive relief available for filing and delivery obligations that would have been due between March 13, 2020 and June 30, 2020 (unless further extended).

Click here to read the original Client Alert.

Pillsbury’s Investment Funds and Investment Management team is available to assist with compliance and risk management related to COVID-19.  Please contact your client relationship attorney for additional information regarding your obligations.