Survey of State Securities Divisions

Are States Equipped to Handle Increased IA Registrations?

Under the new financial reform bill, expected to be signed into law sometime in July 2010, the state securities divisions will play a larger role in the oversight of investment managers.  Under the current system, investment advisers (who generally provide financial planning services or investment advice to individuals) with $30 million of AUM are required to register with the SEC.  Under the new laws to take effect under the reform bill, investment advisers with up to $100 million of AUM will be required to register with the state of their principal place of business.  This means that thousands of managers who are currently subject to SEC jurisdiction and oversight will become subject to state jurisdiction and oversight.  We do not believe that the states have the desire, expertise or, most importantly, the budget to handle an increase in the jurisdiction and oversight.  Because we think the states securities divisions are cash strapped, we conducted our own mini-survey to find out the answer.  [Note: we also recommend the article The New Sheriffs in Town about this same issue.]

Survey of State Securities Divisions

Over the past couple of weeks, we called each state securities division and tried to speak with a person familiar with each division’s financial situation and other aspects of their operations.  While we were not always able to speak with the appropriate person, we were at times able to divine interesting information from our discussion.  For many states we have sent in record requests under the Freedom of Information Act and while our reports below are not complete, they do show us that a number of securities divisions are in fact having financial difficulties.  These questions focus on the issues we think are important.  [Please note: most of the answers below are not official but were instead taken from our informal phone conversations with people in the various divisions.]

Question: Is the securities division facing budget cuts?

  • Arizona – yes, there have been budget cuts over the last couple of years.
  • Delaware – no, but statewide salaries have been cut 2.5%
  • Kansas – there is a constrained budget
  • New Mexico – yes
  • Oregon – yes
  • Pennsylvania – budget restraints
  • Utah – yes
  • Vermont – yes, as of 2009
  • Washington – yes
  • Other: A number of divisions either stated no or that they could not provide that information.

Question: has the securities divisions faced staff reductions?

  • Utah – yes
  • Washington – operating under a hiring freeze
  • Other:  A number of states said there were vacant positions (Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, New Mexico (3))

Question: are division staff forced to take furlough days?

  • California – yes, either 1 or 2 Fridays a month
  • Colorado – yes, 1 days per month instituted in Fall of 2009
  • Connecticut – yes, instituted in 2008
  • Delaware – yes, instituted in 2009
  • Hawaii – yes
  • Maine – yes
  • Michigan – yes
  • Minnesota – yes
  • Nevada – yes
  • New Mexico – in 2009 (5 days) but not in 2010
  • Oregon – yes
  • Vermont – yes – instituted in 2009
  • Virginia – yes
  • Washington – yes
  • Wisconsin – yes
[Note: we expect this number to rise as soon as we receive information back from our Freedom of Information Act requests.]

Question: how many staff members does the division employ?

  • Arkansas – 38
  • Delaware – 13 (2 examiners)
  • Indiana – 18-20 (1 examiner)
  • Louisiana – 11 (2 examiners)
  • Montana – 5 (2 examiners)
  • Nebraska – 10 (1 examiner)
  • New Hampshire – 10 (2 examiners)
  • New Mexico – 22 (1 examiner)
  • North Dakota – 9 (3 examiners)
  • Utah – 19 (5 examiners)
  • Washington – 38 (8 examiners)
  • West Virginia – 11 (5 examiners)
  • Wisconsin – 16 (10 examiners)
Question: how often does the division audit registrants?

  • Indiana – 3-4 year cycle
  • Louisiana – 2 year cycle
  • Montana – 3 year cycle
  • Nebraska – every 2-3 years
  • New Hampshire – risk-based cycle
  • New Mexico – 3 year cycle
  • Utah – 5 audits per month (3 routine, 2 for cause; mostly broker-dealer issues)
  • Virginia – 3.5 year cycle
  • Washington – high-risk firms audited 1-2 years; lower risk firms audited every several years
  • Wisconsin – 3 year cycle

We will periodically update this information as we receive it from the divisions.


Other related hedge fund law articles:

Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP provides legal support and hedge fund compliance services.  Bart Mallon, Esq. can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.