When it comes to compliance issues, the line between RIAs and broker-dealers seems to be getting fuzzier. At the beginning of the year, when the SEC and FINRA published letters detailing the issues of greatest concern for examiners, compliance experts noted a surprising similarity. And in laying out its examination priorities, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations broke with past practice and failed to distinguish between areas of concern specific to RIAs, broker-dealers and other regulated entities.

“The fact that they kind of jumbled everyone together in the same sandbox, at least excluding exchanges, was interesting in that they’re treating broker-dealers and advisors all of a piece,” says Glen Barrentine, a corporate partner at the law firm Winston & Strawn, where he chairs the broker-dealer regulatory practice. “It’s also very closely coordinated with FINRA’s priorities.”

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