When the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) decides to examine an investment adviser, the examination process typically begins when an OCIE staff member calls the adviser’s chief compliance officer (CCO) and then sends an initial document or information request letter. The number of items requested can be extensive; the period of time covered by the requests can be quite lengthy; and the information requested may be spread across various documents and databases. Thus, although many of the items requested are documents that advisers are required to maintain by Rule 204‑2 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, responding to this request letter can be challenging – especially when given a fairly short deadline. Peter Wilson, managing director at Duff & Phelps and former CCO of an SEC-registered investment adviser, spoke to the Private Equity Law Report about OCIE information request letters and about a letter recently sent to a client that he provided to the PELR in redacted form. This article presents Wilson’s perspective on the evolution of these letters; how they are prepared; and how CCOs can use sample letters to improve their compliance programs and prepare for the receipt of information request letters from OCIE in the future. For more on information requests from OCIE, see “Practical Guidance From Former SEC Examiners on Preparing for and Surviving SEC Examinations
” (Sep. 1, 2016).