The SEC's office of compliance, inspections and examinations, in a letter May 1 to investment advisers, has identified 12 areas of potentially troubling practices that the SEC expects to review during exams. The letter, which largely tracks speeches top compliance office officials have made this year, outlines advisers' duties regarding advertising, personal trading, soft dollar disclosure and other issues. It also offers examples of instances of violations the office has found.

The letter is an attempt to educate investment advisers on the laws that govern their business and to encourage compliance and internal control measures, Lori Richards, director of the compliance office, said in the letter.

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