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ACA has assisted investment advisers and broker-dealers with monitoring electronic communications for several years. In 2016 alone, our surveillance analysts will have conducted hundreds of reviews. ACA has found that multi-lingual employees of our clients may communicate in languages other than English in a variety of situations. As a result, we have developed comprehensive, risk-based electronic communications reviews in certain foreign languages to help compliance teams review communications that they may not have the ability to review internally. In addition to English, ACA can now conduct reviews in Spanish, German, Mandarin, and Portuguese. We also can assist firms in identifying the volume of messages archived in French, Italian, Japanese, and Korean, with additional languages to become available soon.
It has long been an expectation of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) staff that compliance officers utilize electronic communications surveillance as a tool to test their compliance programs. Electronic communication surveillance can be an important part of an adviser’s duty to supervise its employees. Emails and other forms of electronic communications are also routinely requested during SEC examinations. Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement said in September 2015, “electronic communications often provide critical evidence in our investigations, as email and other message content (e.g., text and chat room messages) can establish timing, knowledge, or relationships in certain cases, or awareness that certain statements to investors were false or misleading. In fact, establishing fraudulent intent is one of the most challenging issues in our investigations, and emails and other electronic messages are often the only direct evidence of that state of mind.”
ACA’s Electronic Communications Reviews are part of our Compliance Support Solutions. Other compliance support solutions include strategic compliance program and resource reviews, secondment and staffing assistance, and on-site compliance support services. For more information, please contact Gregory Mekanik (+1 804-379-7800) or your ACA Consultant.