US - The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has begun sending letters of notification to investment consultants asked to submit information for its investigation of potential conflicts of interest in the consulting industry.
The letters are a signal that the SEC has completed its inspection in the nearly 18-month examination of potentially conflicting business conducted by investment consultants, said Gene Gohlke, associate director in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. Letters are being sent to all consulting firms that were targeted in the sweep.
San Francisco-based Strategic Investment Solutions (SIS), Summit Strategies Group, and New England Pension Consultants (NEPC) received letters stating that “no deficiencies or violations came to our attention during the course of our examination”. The letters were sent by Louis Becka, assistant director in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations.
Wilshire Associates also received a letter in late March with “comments” in it, said a Wilshire spokesperson. She would not disclose the nature of the comments. Other firms that submitted information after the SEC’s investigation was launched in December 2003 have not yet received letters as Global Pensions went to press.
Pension Consulting Alliance, Segal Advisors, Callan Associates and Hewitt Associates confirmed that they had not yet received letters from the SEC.Mercer Investment Consulting, Watson Wyatt and Merrill Lynch declined to comment.
As the SEC review into possible conflicts of interest in the investment consulting industry draws to a close, some firms maintain ties with broker/dealers, an area that the SEC has probed in its review.
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