The SEC’s Marketing Rule in Focus: Highlights of the Latest Risk Alert

On June 8, 2023, the SEC’s Division of Examinations issued a risk alert (Risk Alert) on amended Rule 206(4)‑1 (Marketing Rule) under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The Risk Alert aims to shed light on the interpretations and implications of the Marketing Rule, which became effective on November 4, 2022. However, despite the underlying significance of the alert, the narrative emerging from industry insiders paints a picture of a document somewhat devoid of the depth and specificity they anticipated. This article examines the role of risk alerts, including a prior Marketing Rule-related risk alert; the new areas of emphasis in the Risk Alert; initial reactions to the Risk Alert; and key steps GCs and CCOs should take in response to it, with insights from Krista Zipfel, director at ACA Group, and Jessica Forbes, partner at Fried Frank. According to Forbes and Zipfel, although the SEC has exercised restraint in providing extensive guidance on the practical applications of the Marketing Rule, the Risk Alert outlines three new areas of focus in examinations: (1) testimonials and endorsements; (2) third-party ratings; and (3) updates to Form ADV. For more on the Marketing Rule’s uncertainty, see “Challenges and Lessons From the First Six Months of Complying With the New Marketing Rule” (Jun. 1, 2023).

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